Well, 38 doesn't break down into quarters evenly, but 10 league games is a nice even number to look over everything and decide what we know about Liverpool and what we don't. Or at least try, because those who claim to know don't know what they know and don't. I know, it's confusing, stick with me.
What We Know:
-Liverpool are good. We know that much. Last season, we couldn't have said that at this point. In fact, the word "suck" could have been tossed around and you wouldn't be able to say it wasn't true. I know it's not breaking any ground here, but considering where Liverpool have been, the fact that we can say they're good (though we don't know how much), is kind of a relief. But sixth, one point behind Chelsea and Spurs (though having played a game more than Spuds) and we can safely say Liverpool are in the second tier -- if we just accept that City and United are far ahead of everyone else. I only accept that one of them are, but that's another discussion for another time.
-Daniel Agger is the second most important player behind Luis Suarez. Agger is like a stealth fighter jet when it hits sonic speed. The joints seal up, the rivets become tighter, everything becomes sleeker. When Agger is not there, the joints are separated, the thing leaks, and creaks. It still flies, but it's not doing what it was meant to. Agger aids the defense with his greater mobility and presence. He transforms Martin Skrtel from a skittish defender to an authoritative one. He aids the attack by being able to bring the ball out of defense, causing Lucas and whoever his partner is to push a little farther up the pitch, along with the whole backline. That squeezes opponents and gives Lucas less space to have to cover to win the ball back, which he's so good at.
-Jose Enrique has been the best signing.
-Despite a couple recent wonky performances, Stewart Downing is probably the second best. While he doesn't have the pace or the shimmy you might desire from a winger, his calmness and intelligence with the ball is a valuable tool. His understanding with Enrique on the left has been almost instant, and will only be a bigger weapon as the season wears on.
-The team really, really needs Lucas, and has no backup when it doesn't.
-Andy Carroll isn't nearly as bad as a lot of people would like to believe, and he isn't as good as the inflated and deadline price tag would suggest.
-Charlie Adam's set-piece delivery, despite all it comes with, is pretty lethal.
-Luis Suarez is going to continue to be unfairly cast as the Angel of Death by opponents and the British media, and he's going to continue to kick their ass anyway.
What We Don't Know:
-Where Jordan Henderson should be deployed. Not even Kenny knows. But over the past month, we have found out that Henderson has a role to play, and maybe that he has no defined role is what will make him even more special. Flexibility is not a bad thing. But he's got a part to play, that's for sure.
-If Jamie Carragher fits into the first 11. Well, I think I know this, but Liverpool sure don't. Because of his stature at the club, and his history, it's hard to ignore Carra's claim to be an automatic choice when fit. At the same time, it's hard to ignore how dicey he's been and how good Skrtel and Agger look together. This will be an issue that will be juggled all season.
-What exactly Steven Gerrard is made of, and why the medical staff is determined to rot him from the inside out.
-Who will stand up when Luis Suarez is off the game. Maybe this question would be easier to answer if the Reds didn't have to keep hitting the woodwork to solve some sort of sexual deviance (it's the only explanation at this point). But no one has proven they can consistently make and finish off chances when Suarez isn't doing so.
-How best to use Charlie Adam. Though Dalglish has pretty much indicated a 4-2-2-2 is his preferred formation, none of us are totally comfortable with Adam and Lucas being alone in midfield, meaning Lucas is alone in doing the dirty work. And it makes Gerrard, if he ever is actually alive again, an odd fit.
-How big a part to play does Carroll have. Is he only getting run outs in cup games and the lesser opponents? Or will he be part of the strongest 11?
These are just some thoughts in my head today. What are yours a quarter way through the season? Share them in the comments.