Liverpool’s young squad are currently on an 12-match unbeaten streak in the league and are one game away from a Wembley semi-final in the FA Cup. Josh Sexton looks at how maturity has played a big role in Liverpool’s turnaround in form.
With the young group of players that Liverpool have it is crucial that they develop their game in the right way. Prior to this season players like Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling had shown flashes of potential, but had never really sustained their impact.
However, since the turn of the year, Liverpool have been on an incredible run of form and the team are playing with the confidence and swagger that they possessed in the second half of last season.
Coutinho’s biggest criticism has always been that he wasn’t a consistent performer; one game he would produce a piece of magic and the next he would be a complete bystander.
However, with three LFC player of the month wins this season, he is well on course to becoming the Reds’ player of the season.
The Reds’ No. 10 operates best in the space between the midfield and the attack, however in the Premier League this space will often be occupied with an opposition defensive midfielder.
The key thing that Coutinho has added to his game is the ability to create this space for himself, to allow him to display his creativity on a more frequent basis, thus he has become a very important player for the Redmen this season.
At just 20 years of age Raheem Sterling is one of the brightest young talents in Europe. This season with Luis Suarez gone, Daniel Sturridge injured and Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert misfiring, Brendan Rodgers has asked Sterling to play as a lone striker on several occasions.
Sterling took to this role very well, using his pace and trickery to get in behind defences, and grab himself a few goals in the process.
This has been a stark contrast to his early days when Sterling was often accused of having the pace and trickery but little end product.
Just like Coutinho, this is something that Sterling has had to take on board and improve, and he appears to have done that to great effect. He’s has matured his game to become a more versatile player and he has also added more goals to his game, which makes him even more of an exciting prospect.
Jordan Henderson, has been a player who has seen a constant improvement since he signed from Sunderland back in the summer of 2011, and he has become one of the Reds’ most consistent performers in the last few seasons.
However, this season has seen him take the reigns of vice-captain at the club, following the departure of Daniel Agger, and this has been a new responsibility that he has had to adapt to.
Henderson has shown great maturity, and with Steven Gerrard being out with injury, has stepped up to the new captain role better than anybody had expected.
He has shown that he can be a leader, and has put himself as firm favourite to take over the armband, when Gerrard departs at the end of this season.
Henderson has chipped in with two fantastic goals in his last two games and such has been his improvement in his new role, it has seen Liverpool win every league game that Gerrard has missed this season.
It isn’t about standing up to Diego Costa, it’s about leading your team and doing whatever you can to see your team win and those are characteristics that Henderson possesses.
With the way the season started, many fans were beginning to question Rodgers’ position as manager, in particular due to some of the signings made in summer.
However, with the Reds’ turnaround in form that all seems like a distant memory and now fans are looking for Rodgers’ young team to finish the season with a flourish.