Brendan Rodgers has humorously played down Liverpool's chances of winning the Premier League, saying his team are the "chihuahuas" of the title race.
I don't do all that horse stuff.
Jose is very good at all that sort of stuff. We may be the chihuahuas that run in between the horses' legs. But we're just about improving with each match.
Liverpool's win places them four points behind Chelsea, one behind Manchester City (who have a game in-hand) and three behind Arsenal. The midweek fixtures saw both Chelsea and the Gunners struggle with draws, ensuring the Reds moved two points closer to the top spot.
Although still in contention, Rodgers is right to quash talk of a title-winning campaign. Liverpool have been explosive at times this season—highlighted with huge wins over Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal—but have also shown the capacity to struggle against lesser teams.
OptaJoe provides a statistic that must be ironed out if the team are to continue progressing up the table:
If the recent draws against Aston Villa and West Brom were turned into wins, the Merseyside club would be sitting at the summit of the division. Liverpool face Manchester United, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea across six weeks from Mar. 16, a run of fixtures that will define their season.
Rodgers has done an exceptional job of developing Liverpool's squad and style. The team is drilled to play exciting, attack-minded football and possess a forward line that quickly springs into life.
Rodgers' midfielders break up play and spray the ball up the pitch with haste, providing the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling with plenty of ammunition.
Liverpool's defence certainly needs work, as highlighted by the two goals conceded at Fulham. While Kolo Toure's wild attempt at a clearance gave Simon Mignolet no chance with his own goal, Kieran Richardson's strike saw Martin Skrtel and Jon Flanagan encroach on each other without stopping the ball.
That said, the so-called "chihuahuas" have made huge steps in a relatively small amount of time. Rodgers' men are 14 points better off than this stage last season, as noted by Liverpool Echo writer Tony Scott:
With the real prospect of Champions League football next year, a competition that will lure world-class players to Anfield, Liverpool are sure to continue challenging Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City for years to come.