Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side are starting to show signs of the team they once were last season and is confident that will become the norm in the second half of the campaign.
A third decent performance in a week saw Martin Skrtel salvage a point with a header in the seventh minute of added time as they drew 2-2 with Arsenal.
While the lack of a cutting edge was still evident the pace, pressing and passing which was associated with their run to second place last season is returning. And that gives Rodgers hope 2015 will see greater improvements and a run towards the top four.
“For me the key is we are moving in the right direction with one defeat in eight so if we continue with that work-rate and mentality we will turn the draws into victories,” he said. “When we play our game and get back to that level we are a difficult team to play against.
“Hopefully it will bring us in to what we have had in my time here, being stronger in the second half of the season.”
Key to Liverpool’s success will be the return to fitness of Daniel Sturridge, who has not played for the club since August 31 after sustaining a thigh injury on international duty.
In his absence others have had to weigh in with goals but they have not done nearly enough and Skrtel’s late effort – following substitute Fabio Borini’s dismissal for two yellow cards – after Philippe Coutinho‘s opener took their tally to just 21 in 17 matches.
They were nearly made to pay dearly after Mathieu Debuchy and Olivier Giroud turned things around either side of half-time and Sturridge’s comeback cannot come soon enough.
“That will be just after the Christmas period,” added Rodgers. “The first stage of his rehab was in Los Angeles, he’s gone to Boston and he will move on to a specialist facility there and hopefully in the early part of the new year he will be back.
“Some point in January we will get him back and that will be really exciting for this team.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger felt some of his players suffered from the memories of last season’s 5-1 hammering, in which they were 4-0 down after 20 minutes.
“We had problems to get our flow going,” he said. “We did not have enough possession in the game. In the first half it was down to tactical and some psychological reasons – maybe bad memories from last year. Some players were not at their best.
“Overall it is a fair result but a frustrating result for us because they came back when we had plenty of defenders on the pitch and could have defended the set-piece much better.”