A surprisingly strong start to the season saw Liverpool sat second in the league after the opening months. A few stumbles on the pitch subsequently took some of the shine off, but with results elsewhere going their way over the weekend, today the club once again find themselves on target to secure two points per game and are behind only Arsenal in the standings with the season over a third of the way through.
"We've bounced back from the defeat to Hull and we couldn't have done much more in the games against Norwich and West Ham," insisted Glen Johnson when asked to assess Liverpool's chances of sticking around near the top of the table over the coming weeks, with tough trips to face Tottenham, Manchester City, and Chelsea along with a home date against Cardiff to round out the calendar year.
"We have scored 20 goals in our last five home games [which] is quite impressive. It is what all the top teams try to do—make their home ground a fortress. We have some tough away games coming up [but] we only worry about the next one and I am sure we will step it up for the so called bigger teams. We are good enough to be up there. If we keep picking up points [the rest] will take care of itself."
Despite the good results against West Ham and Norwich, not every moment of Liverpool's two latest victories was a positive one, and a Martin Skrtel own goal in the second half on Saturday could have led to a very different outcome on another night. Johnson, though, insisted the mentality of the players was strong enough that nobody on the pitch was ever in much doubt about what the final result would be.
"After they scored they put a bit of pressure on but we coped," he added. "At 2-1 we didn't do anything wrong. When a team gets one goal back they are going to be perked up but the lads were brave. We stood strong and sucked up all the pressure. We were good enough and strong enough to withstand that and go up the other end and score two.
"Every defender aims for a clean sheet. If you keep a clean sheet you can't lose a game but on the other hand if you score four every week you are happy. Of course there is going to be a point when you don't score four. The back four has changed quite a bit through the season because of injury and illness, but we have some great players and once we get that togetherness back I'm sure we'll start keeping clean sheets."
Even with Luis Suarez on top form and leading the league in scoring at the other end of the pitch, given how tough the rest of December looks, Liverpool will likely need a few clean sheets if they're to have any hope of holding on to second place and that two points per game average.