By Anthony Marinetti Contributing Writer

After a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal on Nov. 12, Liverpool has gotten its act together in a big way.

Undefeated in its past seven Premier League matches and not conceding a goal in that span, Liverpool is suddenly holding down third position and nipping at the heels of sputtering Chelsea.

Not only is the club playing tough on defense, but it is also scoring plenty of goals, putting up 11 in its past three matches. The balance being displayed is a recipe for success and has Coach Rafael Benitez very pleased.

"We have better balance now," said Benitez after Liverpool�s 3-0 win over Charlton on Saturday. "We have the balance between defense and attack, we are creating a lot of chances, and we don't give too many chances away."

The victory is also significant because it is Liverpool�s second straight away win, and the Reds have struggled mightily on the road thus far this season. The trend has been rather frustrating, so a decisive win at The Valley feels very good.

Steven Gerrard is obviously much more effective back in his central midfield role, scoring a brilliant goal in the 88th minute vs. Charlton. The elevated play of Dirk Kuyt has also been instrumental in the Reds' resurgence. In his first season with Liverpool, the Dutch international has taken awhile to find his form, but is now the perfect complement for the likes of fellow strikers Peter Crouch and Craig Bellamy. Though Kuyt has yet to score this campaign, his partnership with Bellamy up top has proven to be very effective.

So where does Liverpool go from here? The club has a two-month respite from Champions League play as it moves to the round of 16, where it will face defending champ Barcelona in February. This is a good thing for the Reds, as they have a grueling Premier League schedule coming up, with four fixtures in a mere eight days. That stretch begins Saturday when Liverpool hosts Watford and is a big -450 favorite on

Liverpool must pick up six points in the first two games of the run over struggling Watford and Blackburn, because it may be low on energy by the time the big match vs. Bolton rolls around.

Liverpool is certainly confident it can continue to score many goals.

"It was a good game,� Benitez said in reference to the Charlton match. �We created a lot of opportunities and scored three goals, but we could have scored more.�

If Rafa continues to manage his lineup as he has in recent weeks, the odds look good for Liverpool. Being able to rotate Bellamy, Crouch and Kuyt at forwards is a luxury that should keep paying dividends, and with Gerrard poised for more production in central midfield, the Reds are a favorite to finish in the top three at season�s end.

WagerWeb Soccer