Friday, 28 January 2011

What Comes Next for Liverpool? The Reds by the Numbers

Article first published as What Comes Next for Liverpool? The Reds by the Numbers on Technorati.

The King has the Reds on the Rise, But Just How Far Can We Go From Here

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
January 27, 2011

Its 7th Heaven for the Reds for the moment after a second straight win under Kenny Dalglish has propelled the club into the top half of the table. The Reds finished 7th last year and booked a UEFA Europa League spot, but knowing the King he will be aiming higher than that. Champions League Qualification is still a possibility believe it or not because of how crazy this season has been in the English Premier League. With the club finally mounting a climb in the table I thought it would be interesting to see just where the Reds could possibly end up based on a couple different situations.

Champions League?

I know it seems like a long shot but there is still that chance for the Reds. This year confined to the UEFA Europa League, which we reconvene on February 17 in Prague against Sparta Praha in the first leg of our Round of 32 knockout stage tie. Dalglish has the team and fans reunited, but can they push their new found confidence enough to challenge Sunderland, Tottenham, and Chelsea ahead of them for 4th.

Qualifying for the Champions League domestically will take even more effort but it is still possible. Liverpool sit 7th in the table with 32 points from 9 wins 5 draws and 10 losses. If the Reds win out the last 14 games of the season we would have a total of 74 points. That is the highest we can manage no matter what we do. However, if you look at the past five seasons the average number of points needed to place 4th or higher was 71. So it is possible. The highest total of the past five was 76 points which Liverpool amassed in the 07-08 season.

The statistics give us an outside chance on averages but it is still a long shot. Chelsea is currently in 4th place on 41 points with a game in hand. That means the Reds currently have a 9 point swing to make up for, if the Blues win the missing match it will be a 12 point swing. Best case scenario we start by beating the Blues for the double over them at Stamford Bridge on February 6th.

As much as I want to see Liverpool in the Champions League next season I truly don't know if we can over come the gap, nor keep Tottenham from beating us in that same race. If the planets aligned just right I see Liverpool getting out of the next 14 games with 9 wins 3 Draws and 2 Losses. That would bring our points total to 62.

The Lowest 4th place finish in the last ten seasons belongs to Liverpool from the 2003-2004 season where we finished with 60 points, and Everton Finished 4th on 61 Points the following season. So numbers wise if we can obtain at least 60 points we have 5/1 odds on a Champions League spot. Given as upside down as this season has truly been who is to say we cant still make it.

Transfer Impacts?

The final say in whether Liverpool add some extra ability to increase the likelyhood of such a push for the 4th spot in the table remains to be seen. The controversies surrounding all the transfer targets of the Reds is increasing, and with every waking moment the window is closer to being shut as there are only 4 days left. If deals are going to be made they need to be made now.

Luis Suarez is still the top target along with Charlie Adam. Stephen Warnock is still on the cards to replace Paul Konchesky, if the later does indeed return to Fulham, and the cash and time is available to complete a move for the former Liverpool Academy starlet.

Other outside transfer targets in and out of the media have been Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Ashley Young and Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Eljero Elia (Hamburg), David Bentley (Loaned to Birmingham City), Charles N'Zogbia (Wigan), Matt Jarvis (Wolves), and even Ronaldinho was linked with both Liverpool and Blackburn before he marked his return to Brazil. Also Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich) and Danial Sturridge (Chelsea) were mentioned looking at loan moves before the opening of the transfer window in January, but neither ever seemed to have carried any weight.

At the rate it is going I truly don't see many moves being completed, and the King will have to take what he has and mold it to his pass and move offense to get the best finish possible.

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