Ranking Liverpool's Top 3 Performances of 2013/14 Season So Far

Scott Burns@@scottb86Featured ColumnistApril 23, 2014

Ranking Liverpool's Top 3 Performances of 2013/14 Season So Far

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    This weekend sees Liverpool head into another potentially season-defining fixture against Chelsea knowing that a win would almost certainly herald a first league championship for 24 years.

    As Brendan Rodgers' side prepare for what promises to be another enthralling Sunday afternoon at Anfield, the Reds could do worse than to look at previous results and performances for inspiration.

    The 2013/14 season has been more memorable than even the most optimistic of Liverpool fans could have dreamed of with the Reds five points clear at the summit with just three games to play.

    There have been thumping wins over the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Merseyside rivals Everton, coupled with nervy encounters against the likes of Manchester City, West Ham and Norwich.

    The rise from seventh place mediocrity in 2013 to being on the brink of history in 2014 has been simply breathtaking with Rodgers deserving of a pat on the back even if the Reds come up short.

    This article will select and rank the three most impressive Liverpool performances throughout the 2013/14 season and analyse why each performance deserves its place on the list.

    Not just results will be taken into account, which is why certain recent victories over certain title rivals might not make the cut.

    Read on to see which matches have earned their place in the top three.

No. 3: Tottenham 0-5 Liverpool

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    Alastair Grant

    Liverpool entered the busy festive period with a run of fixtures that at first glance could have been make or break in their initial quest for Champions League qualification.

    The Reds were in good form as they travelled to White Hart Lane on the back of 5-1 and 4-1 victories over Norwich and West Ham respectively but were expected by many to come up short in north London.

    Back in December both sides were touted as hopefuls for a fourth place finish and it was the Reds who were to deal a huge psychological blow to an under-performing Spurs side that would relieve manager Andre Villas-Boas of his duties just 24 hours later.

    Injury ruled out both Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge but they were not to be missed as Rodgers' men ran riot at the Lane.

    Captain for the day Luis Suarez opened the scoring with a neat finish past Hugo Lloris before Jordan Henderson doubled the lead five minutes before half-time.

    Liverpool, who had struggled to keep clean sheets throughout the season, never looked in danger of surrendering their lead but the goal that sealed it wouldn't come until the 75-minute mark but when it came it was a moment to savour.

    Jon Flanagan, making just his sixth start of the season and playing left-back (a position that at the time was foreign to the youngster) arrived late in the box to smash home a goal that Gerrard himself would have been proud of.

    The celebrations from the players, the travelling Kop and Kenny Dalglish who was present in the crowd told its own story.

    Suarez again beat Lloris with a clever lob to add a fourth before Raheem Sterling—who was beginning to show the kind of form that would make him a key player for the Reds in the months to followsealed a memorable trip to the capital.

    This performance makes the list as Rodgers' men went into the contest as underdogs and were without a number of key players. This was arguably the Reds' first real statement to their rivals that they could be genuine title contenders. 

No. 2: Liverpool 4-0 Everton

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    Clint Hughes

    In similar fashion to the 5-0 win at Tottenham, both Liverpool and Everton went into the contest harbouring hopes of securing Champions League football for the 2014/15 season.

    It was, however, to be as one-sided a Merseyside derby that you could ever wish to see.

    The build up to the game had focused on Everton's young talents, highlighting midfielder Ross Barkley as the man to watch but it was to be Steven Gerrard, like time and time before, who would steal the show.

    The Reds were quickest out of the traps and it was Gerrard himself who opened the scoring with a near-post header from a corner and the passion shown by the Reds skipper in the celebration was quite something.

    Brendan Rodgers' men moved the ball around like the Liverpool sides of old and their fierce rivals were quite simply unable to cope.

    Daniel Sturridge added two goals in three minutes as the Reds set Everton the daunting task of overturning a three-goal half-time deficit. 

    The first was the kind of goal that fans at Anfield have become used to since Sturridge arrived at the club with the striker taking a Philippe Coutinho pass into his path before slotting past the onrushing Tim Howard.

    The England striker's second was a quite remarkable finish, latching onto a long ball and without appearing to even look up, he lifted the ball over Howard, who was again left clutching at air.

    Suarez, of course, got his customary goal as the Reds put the game beyond any doubt before Sturridge wasted the chance of a derby hat-trick by ballooning a penalty over the bar and into the Kop.

    Sturridge's miss did not dampen the celebrations of the Liverpool fans and players as the Reds sent a clear message to their rivals that they were the top dogs on Merseyside.

    Importance sees this performance ranked ahead of the win at Spurs. Everton were going well under Roberto Martinez and were expected by some to take at least a point from Anfield.

    The Reds, however, stuck to their philosophy of pass and move football and were just too much for their rivals to handle on the night.

No. 1: Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Arsenal arrived at Anfield in February sitting pretty at the top of the Barclays Premier League table and a win for the Gunners would have surely ended any hopes that Liverpool had of winning the title.

    Arsene Wenger, however, could not have foreseen in even his worst of nightmares just what the Reds had in store for his men this particular Saturday lunchtime.

    Liverpool were quick out of the blocks and were 4-0 up inside a quite phenomenal 20 minutes of football.

    Martin Skrtel enjoyed arguably his most memorable 10 minutes in a Liverpool shirt as he scored not one, but two goals to put the Reds 2-0 up after only 11 minutes of play.

    Brendan Rodgers' side were outsmarting their counterparts at their own game, slick pass and move football from the Reds had the home fans purring and it wasn't long before they added to their two-goal lead.

    Raheem Sterling, who has found the kind of form that should see him star for England at this summer's World Cup, tapped in a Luis Suarez cross that found the youngster on hand at the back post.

    Daniel Sturridge added a fourth with a finish not too dissimilar from his first goal in the 4-0 drubbing of Everton, latching on to an inch-perfect Philippe Coutinho pass before leaving Wojciech Szczesny for dead.

    The Reds took only seven minutes of the second half to add to their already impressive lead over the league leaders when Raheem Sterling added his second and Liverpool's fifth at the second time of asking.

    A Mikel Arteta's consolation penalty did nothing to dampen the spirits and celebrations around Anfield as the Reds ran out 5-1 victors.

    The only thing missing from the afternoon was a Luis Suarez goal but the majestic Uruguayan was unplayable throughout, despite failing to get on the scoresheet.

    This performance ranks at No. 1 on the list as Arsenal travelled to Anfield in confident mood and as league leaders, yet they were made to look ordinary by a quite breathtaking Liverpool performance.

    It was arguably the moment many Liverpool fans realised what Brendan Rodgers is doing at Anfield is something special and believed their side could go on and win the league. The performance, dare I say it, had the hall mark of champions.

    Do you readers agree with the three performances selected? Are they in the correct order or are there others that should have made the list? Leave your comments below, as always.