ANY hopes of resisting Chelsea’s procession to the Premier League title vanished for Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham before the clocks even went back. But so collective is their failure that there is still much to gain for the next out-of-sorts “big” team to settle down and find a winning formula.
Chelsea aside, faltering champions Manchester City look the next best bet for a Champions League place – but that leaves two spots up for grabs if a Liverpool, Arsenal, United or Spurs get their act together. United, for all of their faults, showed that by climbing to fourth by beating the Gunners on Saturday, while Newcastle – once in freefall, but now fifth – have proven what a few wins can do. They and Southampton have enjoyed rich starts to the campaign, but their ability to last the distance has to be in question.
That is why it would make no sense for Liverpool to dispense with manager Brendan Rodgers yet, despite a fourth successive loss.
A small improvement to their results could go a long way, so minor tweaks are more appropriate than major surgery. Rodgers led them to the brink of the title last term and is more likely to rediscover that form than a mid-season replace-ment.