Poulsen pleads for patience

The Reds returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory over

West Ham at the weekend, bouncing back immediately from the end of

their six-match unbeaten run at Stoke the previous week. With no

matches against any of the current top four between now and

February 5 – when they travel to Chelsea – the next few months

present an ideal time to make up ground lost by their poor start to

the campaign which left them mired in the relegation zone for a

spell. Despite their early problems, Liverpool are only three

points behind fifth-placed Tottenham, whom they face at White Hart

Lane on Sunday, and six adrift of Manchester City in fourth.

Poulsen believes, given time, they can close that gap. “I hope and

I think that we will be better from game to game,” he said. “If we

work hard and keep listening to the things that the boss wants to

do, I’m sure that we will be a much better team when we come to the

games in February and March.” The Denmark international’s Liverpool

career since joining from Juventus in the summer has mirrored his

club’s season in some respects, with a number of indifferent

performances. However, the absence of injured captain Steven

Gerrard and suspended Lucas Leiva against the Hammers saw the

30-year-old have his best performance in a red shirt. With Gerrard

out for a month and back-up midfielder Jay Spearing sidelined for

six weeks with a broken bone in his leg, Poulsen has the chance to

earn an extended run in the team. And he is keen to make the most

of it, after acknowledging his difficulties in adapting to the

Premier League. “It was good for me to play again. It has been a

hard start so it was nice to be in the starting XI in an important

victory,” he added. “We have struggled and I have struggled to get

into the team so it was nice to play. “With Steven coming back from

the national team with an injury it is important for the other

players to come in. “He is a big miss. When the captain is not

here, we are missing the key player from our team. “We hope he will

be back quickly but the rest of the time he is away, it is up to us

to pick up the points and be in a good position so when he comes

back we will be even better. “I got my chance and I was happy but

three points was most important.” In the absence of Gerrard – who

tore a hamstring in England’s friendly defeat to France last week –

and Lucas, Roy Hodgson paired Poulsen with Raul Meireles – who

admits he is happier playing centrally – for the first time. And

Hodgson was certainly happy with his two central midfielders. “You

could argue Steven Gerrard and Lucas have been two of our best

players but it is nice to show we are a good team and we do have a

bit of strength in depth,” said the 63-year-old. “Christian was

excellent and so was Raul, they complement each other. “Christian

is a good player and I’ve felt sorry for him. If you can pay a

price for being too honest I think he may have done that in one or

two games earlier when the team was not playing well and he has

tried to do much and failed. “But I always knew he was far from

that and he showed what a good player he is. “And the important

thing for us is to get Raul Meireles on the ball.”