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Liverpool perfect so far

Posted by Julian Cardillo  September 1, 2013 11:00 AM

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Liverpool is having no difficulties turning small leads into wins.

On Sunday afternoon at Anfield, they earned a 1-0 shutout victory over Manchester United to improve to 3-0-0 on the season. Liverpool has downed Aston Villa and Stoke City by the same scoreline. That makes this Liverpool's best start to a Premier League season since 2008 when they went undefeated through ten games.

Winning by a one-goal margin isn't glamorous. But it does mean that a team is playing well on both sides of the ball. Liverpool's defense and offense have been putting together such performances.

Simon Mignolet, the off-season goalkeeper signing, has made a seamless transition into a new group of players, making saves when he's been called upon and commanding his back line well. His defenders have been up to the task, too.

On Sunday, Liverpool was without veteran outside back Kolo Toure (groin), but the four-man defense was still a brick wall against Manchester United's core of attacking players without him.

For how long Liverpool can keep up their stingy defending remains to be seen. But the fact that they're the only team in the league who have yet to give up a goal is telling.

Offensively, Liverpool should be easy to predict-- but they're not.

All three of their goals have come from Daniel Sturridge, the latest of which occurred when a pair of Manchester United defenders took their eyes off of him for a split second during a Liverpool corner kick. That gave Sturridge, who was celebrating his 24th birthday, just enough time to flick a diving header by Daniel Agger into the back of the net for a lead that his club never relinquished.

Teams know that they have to zero in on Sturridge, who has notched 40 goals in his seven-year Premier League career. And yet, he's been one of the league's most unstoppable scoring threats in the early parts of the season.

That will give manager Brendan Rodgers no qualms about starting him over Luis Suarez, who has been a soap opera for Liverpool through injuries and transfer speculations. On Sunday, Suarez watched his teammates-- and Sturridge, his new competition-- beat Manchester United from the stands.

Suarez' role with the club, or lack thereof, hasn't gone unnoticed. He's drawn criticism from fans and teammates over how he regards his future with Liverpool.

Whether Suarez stays or goes is irrelevant from a playing perspective. Rodgers appears to have found a crew of players he can depend on, which isn't to say that he won't call on Suarez eventually.

But the current group that's earned positive results for Liverpool through the first three weeks has the potential to contend for a top spot this season. The fact that they've been perfect so far could just be the foundation, or the start, of Liverpool's first quality season in years.

If you want to reach Julian email him at and follow him on twitter @juliancardillo

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Corner Kicks: Julian Cardillo offers insight and analysis about the New England Revolution as well as European and international soccer.

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