A much need home win for the Reds today but this ended up being far too nervy for my liking.
To a large extent it was the same old story at Anfield this afternoon. The Reds dominated the first half with Reading failing to trouble stand-in Brad Jones at any point. However despite all this dominance they went into the break with only one goal to show for their efforts.
Raheem Sterling had an outstanding first 45 minutes combining to great effect with Johnson down the left. After 15 minutes Suarez could have played a simple square ball that would have allowed the youngster in, but he hopelessly misjudged the pass.
As we have seen before, Nuri Sahin was making some intelligent late runs into the box and was unlucky not to open the scoring on a couple of occasions, the best of these chances coming when he blazed over in the 26th minute.
Reading were noticeably playing with quite a high line and it was this that led to the goal three minutes later. A clever dink from Suarez sent Sterling through on goal who took one touch before showing tremendous composure to slot past McCarthy. It was a measure of how good this kid really is.
Suarez went close to making it 2-0 five minutes later when he fizzed an effort past the post from 25 yards. Throughout the match the Suarez circus was in full show, with the Anfield crowd creating a ridiculously intimidating atmosphere for the ref. On the rare occasions Suarez was awarded a free kick we were greeted with deafening cheers, louder than we heard for the actual goal. The Uruguayan also demonstrated that he has learned absolutely nothing in the last few weeks, with another feeble dive in the 38th minute. The whole thing is just tedious and why anyone would sympathise with Suarez is beyond me.
The Reds began the 2nd half well enough with Sterling and Johnson both having shots on goal, but the real chance to put the game to bed fell to Suarez on 53 minutes. A chronic defensive error at the back for Reading saw the Uruguayan bearing down on goal, and with options to his left he ended up tamely shooting straight at McCarthy. It's moments like these that re-emphasise just how wasteful he can be at key moments.
With this chance missed Reading began to come into the game with some renewed optimism. McCauley and McAnuff both had very good chances to equalise as the visitors realised that they were still in the contest.
The most worrying aspect for me in all of this was the level of panic that could be seen in the Liverpool backline. Aside from the Reading forwards having far too much time and space in dangerous areas, there were dodgy sliced clearances and last ditch sliding tackles all over the place.
Some will point out how much of a loss Lucas is and while that may be true to an extent, we are simply not defending well as a unit. I don't know what is causing this panic at the back but it's difficult to see us keeping too many more clean sheets at this rate.
Jonjo Shelvey was introduced for the last half hour and made an immediate impact, first teeing up Suarez for a shot and then failing to control a wonderful cross from the Uruguayan. Shelvey just seems to be getting better and better every time I see him and you can see his confidence growing as the season progresses.
There wasn't really any big final push from Reading to get an equaliser in the dying moments and if anything the Reds finished stronger. The best of these chances fell to Suarez in the 78th minute when he feebly dragged his shot wide from 12 yards out.
A win first and foremost is all that was needed today so the added bonus of a clean sheet means we can't have too many complaints. I just worry that while we are obviously going to struggle for goals the defence is nowhere near as solid as it should be.
No doubt there will be plenty of changes for Thursday's match against the unpronounceable Russians with the likes of Yesil certain to get a game. The view at the moment is that the youngster is a little bit too lightweight for the rigours of the Premier League but we may reach the point where he has to be thrown in regardless. With the way he has banged in the goals so far this season for his country, I wouldn't hesitate to start him.
With us still looking panicky at the back and toothless up front there is still plenty of work for Rodgers and his staff to do. That said, a win is a win today and the dizzy heights of the top half of the table are now within our sights.
Subs: Shelvey for Sahin (63), Enrique for Suso (74), Henderson for Sterling (84)
Unused Subs: Gulasci, Carragher, Downing, Assaidi.