Monday, December 8, 2008

No. 3: Liverpool

The Reds lead Chelsea by a point in the race for the Premiership trophy, but unlike the London side, Liverpool has already wrapped up a spot in the Champions League's knockout round. Chelsea can advance with the right results today in the final matchday of the group stage.

Liverpool's big summer signing was Irish international Robbie Keane from Tottenham, but that hasn't worked out as expected. Keane was supposed to team with Spanish superstar Fernando Torres to give Liverpool the best 1-2 striker punch in the Prem. Instead, Keane has two goals in 12 Premier games, and rumors are he's in manager Rafa Banitez's dog house.

Liverpool - 18 times the best team in England's top division - still has been outstanding in the midfield and the back. The Reds have only allowed nine goals in the Prem, second to Chelsea's six.

Why they are here: Perhaps England's and Europe's best midfield with Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano. Have already secured a place in the knockout round of the Champions League with 11 points from five matches.

Why they might not be here in May: Lack of scoring punch. Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt have helped pick up the scoring slack for Keane, but they'll still need the Irishman to regain his scoring form. Kuyt rescued Liverpool at the death back in the Reds' Champions League 3rd Qualifying round tie with Standard Liege. Liverpool has won a lot of games at the end, something that could catch up with them.

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