Liverpool: Top of the Table but Still Not Happy

Barney CorkhillSenior Writer IDecember 2, 2008

With almost half of the Premier League season gone, the league table is starting to take a more recognisable shape, finally recovering from the exciting and surprising start to the season.

Hull City are out of the top four, which is now inhabited by the usual suspects, and West Brom are firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.

There are still some anomalies, such as Blackburn languishing down in 19th place and Tottenham and Newcastle not far away from there either, but, overall, things are starting to calm down.

I mentioned there that the top four was the same as usual, but only in members, not in order.

Usually by this point of the season, Liverpool have dropped points from matches they should have won, and been beaten by at least two of the remaining big three. By now, the Manchester United and Chelsea fans start taunting the Merseysiders over another season without a league title.

However, this season seems to be a little different. After 15 games each, Liverpool are one point ahead of Chelsea, with Manchester United six points behind, having played one game less.

After Monday's goal-less draw, however, the final whistle was greeted with booing and jeering—not from the West Ham fans upset with their current position, but from Liverpool fans apparently upset with theirs.

They had just gone to the summit of the Premier League, and still the home fans weren't happy.

Sure, we had the chance to go three points clear, but if offered a one-point lead at the end of the season, I would bite your hand off.

The performance wasn't great, and, not for the first time this season, Liverpool looked short of ideas when it came to breaking sides down. But can we take positives from this?

Yes, of course we can. The fact is that we are top of the table having played football far below our capabilities. Make no mistake, Liverpool have not hit their top gear yet. When Fernando Torres gets back to full fitness, and regains his telepathic understanding with Steven Gerrard, Liverpool will move up another gear, which could help them pull away from the pack.

Chelsea look vulnerable at home, something I thought I'd never be saying two months ago. However, they do look worryingly strong away from home and, considering they have the rest of the big four to play away, that could make a vital difference.

Manchester United are also yet to hit their top gear, but with the upcoming FIFA Club World Championship, they are due for a fixture pile-up. That is something which has cost them the title in the past, and may do so again.

Whenever I speak to people about Liverpool's title chances the reply is always the same: "They won't win it." When I ask them why, the answer is: "Because they're Liverpool."

A terrible excuse, considering Liverpool have won more top division titles than any other English club, but I think that opinion is very common. Liverpool have been perennial underachievers for almost two decades now, so it's hard to think they may mount a series title challenge.

But the evidence is there for all to see: Liverpool are top after 15 games, and they are perfectly capable of staying there.