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Mid-season report: Liverpool

Mid-season report: Liverpool
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Liverpool began the season with hopes of securing Champions League football. Here, Sports Mole takes a look at their campaign so far.

Kenny Dalglish's first full season in charge of Liverpool since 1991 was seen by many to be an important one for the club.

The summer arrivals of Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique led many pundits to claim that making a return to Champions League football should be a minimum target for Dalglish and his men.

With half of the season now gone, Sports Mole has studied whether the Reds are on track to rejoin Europe's elite.

August

Liverpool began the season with a host of new faces on show for the home match with Sunderland. It all appeared to be going well for Dalglish's side when Luis Suarez put them in front after 12 minutes. However, Sebastian Larsson fired in after the restart to secure a point for Steve Bruce's side.

Wins at Arsenal and at home to Bolton Wanderers followed though, as did progression in the Carling Cup against Exeter City.

September

September could not have started much worse for the Reds, where a 1-0 loss to Stoke City was accompanied by a 4-0 thrashing from Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. As well as the four goals, Liverpool also had Charlie Adam and Martin Skrtel red-carded.

Dalglish managed to spark his side into life for the remainder of the month with a Carling Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion and a Premier League victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

October

Late goals from Andy Carroll and Suarez sealed the Merseyside bragging rights for Liverpool over Everton in early October, before Steven Gerrard returned from injury to score in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

The United game would eventually come back to haunt Uruguayan striker Suarez, who had a verbal altercation with Patrice Evra.

Norwich City visited Anfield and left with a point courtesy of a Grant Holt header, while Adam and Carroll were on target in a 2-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.

The Reds also advanced through to the quarter-final of the Carling Cup thanks to goals from Suarez at Stoke.

November

Two victories over Chelsea, one in the league and the other in the Carling Cup, was the highlight for Liverpool in November.

League leaders Manchester City were also unable to defeat the Reds, although they did leave Merseyside with a point in a 1-1 draw.

December

December began with a defeat at Fulham and a red card for Jay Spearing, a decision which left Dalglish angry.

However, the club bounced back with victories over Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa.

It was off the field where Liverpool's biggest problem materialised, following the news that Suarez would be banned for eight matches for racially abusing United full-back Evra.

Dalglish vowed to stick by his striker, and proved as much by starting him in the next two fixtures during his appeal period.

However, both of those matches - against strugglers Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers - ended in disappointing draws.

As a result, Liverpool found themselves sixth in the Premier League table.

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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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