"I know as a manager, when you are stood on that touchline, the thing you fear most in a game is the opponent and their offensive threat," said Brendan Rodgers following Saturday's goalfest. With six more added to the scored column for Liverpool, there's certainly reason for opponents to be afraid, and so far in 2014, Liverpool have scored 38 goals in 11 league games. Over a season that equates to more than 130 goals. Chelsea hold the current record with 103 goals in the 2009-10 season.
It wasn't all sunshine and celebrations, though. Coming into the match, Cardiff City had scored 23 goals in 30 games. They were on pace for a measly 29 across the span of an entire season, less than Luis Suarez alone is on pace to finish with. On Saturday, they added three to their tally. Normally, for most clubs, such a tendency to concede due in large part to the embrace of an overwhelmingly attacking squad balance that leaves the side open to the counter would be a cause for concern.
For most sides, it would worrying that after a pair of strong performances, the continuing attempts to turn Steven Gerrard into a holding midfielder once again ran into trouble against a side closer to the bottom of the table than the top. A less compact formation gave him more ground to cover than against Southampton or Manchester United, and his desire to get forward often left Liverpool's two centre halves isolated and exposed. For most sides, this would be a concern worth addressing.
For this Liverpool side, it probably won't be, because they score goals. Lots and lots of goals. It may come back to bite them over the final eight games, but then a team that grinds out 1-0 and 2-1 wins with regularity can just as easily see that approach backfire, victim to a late equaliser or hot goalkeeper or dodgy referee decision. And so for this side, the question marks are largely irrelevant, even if defensive errors and acres of space in midfield at times seem a problem in need of a solution.
"You are playing against a team who can score from anywhere, any angle, and a team that can dominate the ball," added the manager. "That's something we have developed and cultivated here, it's not something that was presented to us. Some of these other teams have spent a hell of a lot of money and are still looking to get that. I'm sure they will have confidence in their own way of doing it, but the confidence and belief in our own game, and our mental resilience, are improving."
This is what Liverpool—this Liverpool—are. The holes in midfield exist. The defensive lapses are real. The team balance is weighted towards the attack to a degree no other side in Europe's top leagues can match. And there seem fairly easy and obvious ways to at least begin to fix things. None of that really matters, though. Not for a side averaging three and a half goals a game so far in 2014 that, if they continue that pace, will end the season with 110 goals and a new Premier League record.
For much of 2014, Liverpool have abandoned all pretence to balance, and it has repeatedly led to the kind of defensive calamity that marred matches against Stoke and Aston Villa and Fulham and Swansea, with Cardiff now added to the list. It's a reckless embrace of attacking football, and it's almost certain to see a fair few more scored against Liverpool before the season is done. Looking at the wins and goals scored columns, though, it's not that hard to believe none of that especially matters.
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