Beating Norwich City was not fun and there is nothing worse than previously highlighting that Liverpool really shouldn't race into two goal leads only toe either lose them or look perilously close to losing such advantages. What heartens such a charred soul is the insouciance Brendan Rodgers appears to display when defensive errors or opponents raise the attacking stakes. Rodgers has a plan, he has formations, he trusts the players, and he knows that goals are the solution.
Brendan Rodgers has set his sights on Liverpool scoring 100 goals and the league leaders would be only the second side to do it after Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea in 2009-2010 when Didier Drogba's 29 league goals and Frank Lampard's 22 league goals helped the London club to 103 goals in total. Liverpool are seven goals behind with three games remaining. Records are welcome and Liverpool have broken many this season. While a chase for a league title goes on, Liverpool are entering a new era.
Being top of the league above teams such as Chelsea and Manchester City bring a new reality. This new world order, so to speak, can be undeniably harsh on some decent players within the squad. Performances that may have been appropriate for a side chasing a Champions League spot are no longer acceptable. Liverpool are table toppers and want the league title. In order to achieve this, Liverpool have to continue to bring performances that befit that goal and even when that cannot be done, the results must outweigh the performances.
Eleven wins in a row is impressive but as Chelsea loom, Liverpool must secure a result irrespective of the level of performance on Sunday. Norwich were bested without a confident performance despite holding a healthy lead after just eleven minutes but it should not only serve as a notice of mental strength but a warning for the future. It is hoped that Liverpool will show Jose Mourinho and Chelsea fans why this side is top of the league.
Barcelona. Gerardo Martino's side went behind at home and were unconvincing in victory over Athletic Bilbao. If Barcelona lost that game, Martino would have been on a four game losing streak. The last time Barcelona lost four in a row was in 1999. That was the year where American Beauty, Fight Club, The Matrix, Being John Malkovich, and the Sixth Sense entered ETW's favourite films lost. It wasn't that long ago but still long enough ago to be a stat to hit Tata over the head with.
Barcelona probably won't overtake both Madrid sides in La Liga at this stage of the season and if this season is to be the first without a trophy since 2007-2008 there'll be a decision to make at the end of the season. The transfer ban may be lifted and if so, Barcelona will need to be active in the summer. Will Martino be given the time to oversee the transition from Valdes and Puyol?
Newcastle. Chris Hughton, a former Newcastle victim, has already been sacked this month and replaced with a rookie. The same went on at Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City. Another manager who will be joining a queue of the unemployed, unlucky, and unappreciated is Tim Sherwood. He might be taking over Newcastle if reports are to be believed. That would bring untold joy for journalists across England.
Could we see Alan Pardew get the sack before the end of the season? It doesn't look like he could survive another defeat and it's incredible that Newcastle are still in the top ten despite the horrible run, the criticism, the indiscipline within the ranks, and the general lack of fight on the field. Fan unrest is at a high with repeated calls for Pardew to be sacked and the pressure is rising further after a home defeat to Swansea over the weekend. Maybe it's a good thing for a manager to be available on the touchline and in the dressing room.
Manchester United. David Moyes could be going somewhere very soon but we're not sure when except that it's going to happen sometime. After an inevitable and simple defeat away to his former club Everton, David Moyes must have felt humiliation on a personal and professional level. This is the club you left for the champions and you took their highest goalscorer to add to your side that finished 26 points ahead of your former club. Life should be sweet as you move on to greater things after serving a club diligently and faithfully for over a decade.
The problem is that Moyes was not an attacking coach with an attractive footballing philosophy but a steady hand. While that would serve a club hoping to finish in the top eight, it wouldn't and will never be good enough for clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool. We had Roy Hodgson and we're glad he's gone. Man United have David Moyes and we're glad he's the Chosen One. Everton now sit 12 points ahead of Man United and beat them home and away.
Such a turnaround is too much to bear for a Manchester United side facing no Champions League football next season, watching Liverpool look likely to return to its perch, and playing some of the most turgid football in the division. Is it game over for David Moyes? Probably but do not be surprised if the Scot picks up a job at Aston Villa or West Bromwich Albion and succeeds. Just be prepared to listen to many declare that his fine work there demonstrates that he should have been given time.
Livorno. Domenico Di Carlo has been fired after an impressive 88 days in charge and Livorno have appointed Davide Nicola. Nicola was the guy who was sacked in January, so re-appointed would be the more apposite verb in this instance. This is how it goes in Italy. Gianluca Vialli, former Juventus striker and manager of Chelsea, said that David Moyes would have been sacked three times in Italy. Vialli said that at the beginning of March. Nearly two months later, David Moyes would probably have been fired and reappointed after two other managers only to be fired again.
Livorno are three points from safety and have games against Lazio (home), Udinese (away), Fiorentina (home), and Parma (away). They're probably not going to stay up and will need Paulinho to add to his 13 league goals to even have a smidgen of a chance of survival. Losing five and drawing one game since your last win isn't the most advisable manner of making a run for Serie A survival but I suppose not every team can be a winner.