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Why 2015 Has Proved Liverpool Can Cope Without Steven Gerrard And Aren’t Reliant On Raheem Sterling

Liverpool are unbeaten through the start of 2015, despite missing several top stars…

Liverpool are on the rise once again under Brendan Rodgers. After a miserable start to the season, which saw them stranded in mid-table obscurity in the Premier League and out of the Champions League by Christmas, things have begun to turn around.

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Three wins and two draws from five games so far this calender year tell far from the whole story at Anfield, with the Reds back to within five points of the top four, into the fourth round of the FA Cup and in with a fighting chance of making the Capital One Cup final.

This is a Liverpool team that went without Raheem Sterling for two of those games – winning both – and Steven Gerrard for a game and a half, with the Reds again victorious on both occasions. Suddenly, there are plenty of positives.

Simon Mignolet has gone from ‘Mr. Calamity’ to… well we won’t say ‘Mr.Consistent’ quite yet, but he’s been better, having conceded just once in the last three games since a miserable night against AFC Wimbledon.

The back three of Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho have held solid, even against Chelsea’s star-studded attack, so while the 3-4-3 formation remains an unorthodox choice, it’s one that has brought some much-needed defensive stability.

Players such as Lazar Markovic, Jordan Henderson and particularly Philippe Coutinho have grown in stature with a series of impressive performances, while the bench has been littered with names for the future – think Jordon Ibe, Sheyi Ojo and Jordan Rossiter.

Even Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert have been among the goals – both scoring in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa – and with Daniel Sturridge still to return from injury, the goals could be starting to flow again for a team that are finally emerging from their post Luis Suarez-slumber.

Liverpool have struggled for goals since the Uruguayan joined Barcelona in the summer, with just 31 in 22 league games thus far – Gerrard the top scorer with only five – but the performances of Coutinho, Sterling and co have shown the Reds are a striker short of an exciting second-half of the season.

Henderson has thrived as captain in Gerrard’s absence, looking comfortable in a more central midfield role. The Liverpool fringe players stepped up while Sterling enjoyed an extended winter break, suggesting his days as an out-and-out forward could be numbered.

The 20-year-old spoke openly this week about having to adapt to the position, so with Sturridge nearing his return, the starlet could once again be utilised out wide or in midfield  in the near future.

Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Tuesday emphasised the growth of a young side, as they dominated the Premier League champions elect for much of the game and were unlucky not to come away with the win.

With the second leg to come next Tuesday, Liverpool fans have plenty to look forward to and could be celebrating a first major final in three years within the next seven days.

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