Liverpool have a lot of problems
Pretty obvious that we, as a club, have a lot of problems. The area of debate is what they are and where do they stem from? I have my ideas, tell me if i miss any or if you disagree.
-Goalkeeper - Mignolet IS agood shot-stopper but clearly lacks in several key areas. He is not commanding, he's poor in the air, he fails to organise the defence, inspires worry instead of confidence and his distribution is still woeful. Solution? We need another goalkeeper.
-Defence - we spend £18million on Sakho and don't play him. It is unforgivable. He and and Lovren haven't been given time to gel and form a defensive cohesive unit. Rodgers, perhaps in fear, has reverted to the familiar in Skrtel - every game he does this undermines our defence. Manquillo has looked good but, either due to a contract clause or Rodgers fear, Johnson is preferred. Not good enough. Moreno has had glimpses but, as Ed002 mentioned a while back (and was lambasted for), Moreno's defensive side to his game needs work. It still does. His concentration is very poor at times, his positioning is either advanced winger or deep defender - would be nice if he could transition and do both when required - and as a result it exposes us. So far though I have not been very impressed. Rodgers needs to play our best defenders (Manquillo, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno) and give them time to solidify as a unit. I fear he will not.
-Defensive Midfield - Lucas is our best DM but is never played. Gerrard plays almost every game but has been mediocre for a long time now. If Rodgers was not going to play Lucas this season he should have brought in another DM. Instead he plays Gerrard who, in the "QB" role, only has to pump massively raking balls forward and do little else. He cannot track runs or break up play effectively and as such him playing exposes the entire defence. Gerrard's inability to play the DM role effectively is as damaging defensively as Mignolets fragility. Whilst they both play so will our defensive form remain.
-Wings & attacking midfield - actually think we have good numbers and good quality out wide. The problem is that, on the wing, its difficult to affect the game if you have abject performances all around you. Sterling has been excellent in my opinion. Markovic has been hammered without really been given a chance (nice one fans). Lallana has shown a lot of promise. Coutinho is still massively inconsistent and, personally, whilst he struggles to put 2 good games together, think he should be behind Lallana in the pecking order. To sum up our attacking midfield is fine, except that is lacks a decent forward to link up with.
-Forward - Hows Rodgers spent over £100million but failed to replace Suarez is beyond me. Balotelli was a risk I was always against taking and really, with days left to go before the window shut, we should have already wrapped up a centre forward. Like Andy Carroll we panic-bought and, like that fiasco, we are paying the price. Balotelli is a bad fit for the team. Does not work hard enough, does not make enough incisive runs, does not involve himself in play enough. Being played as a lone striker is not helping - why Rodgers insists now on not playing 2 upfront, when it was so successful last season, is a mystery. Borini has bags of energy but needs to play with a more mobile forward and Lambert is, well, a waste of £4million. He tries hards and wants to do well and I really thought he'd settle in and contribute but predictions of him grabbing 10 goals for us seem way wide of the mark at this stage of the season.
-transfers - The spending spree this summer must be seen as a failure. Lovren is not performing (and I was the biggest supporter of that transfer - shows how wrong you can be). Moreno has been patchy. Markovic has barely played (and for a £20million outlay that just seems bizarre). Manquillo and Emre Can have been the two brightest sparks but, lo and behold, we make a deal so that Atletico can take Manquillo back for peanuts at the end of the season - why would anyone make this deal? Lallana has been decent but under utilised. Balotelli has been a complete waste of time - how, with the transfer committee, that transfer ever happened is again beyond me. Lambert has done nothing. So, after losing Suarez and spending a ton of money, we still have a bad defence, still have not replaced Gerrard (or eve tried to) and now lack a decent forward whom, despite a £100million+ outlay, we have not bought. Negligent is the only word I can use.
And let me be clear, I was excited when we started signing all these players (except Balotelli and Lambert) and I genuinely thought, as a team, we'd improved. I was wrong, and here's why -
-Manager - Rodgers is not playing his best team, is not playing with the tactics or style of last season (which were very successful), is unable to organise us defensively (and our sudden fear of pressing is making this even more apparent) and is not getting the performances from players. I think that, at least until January, we are destined to struggle. Things will probably pick up when Sturridge returns but I really don't like the idea of us being this bad without 1 player, especially a player as injury prone as Sturridge. Rodgers seem either unable, unwilling or just unsure of how to get us playing right. This part of the equation I don't really understand - has Rodgers started to believe his own press? Is he refusing help from others? Can he not realise how bad our problems are and how urgently they need fixing? Its clear whilst our goalscoring form is dead that we need to tighten up - yet we remain. It's also unacceptable to be played off the park by teams like West Ham and Newcastle. I mean no disrespect to these clubs but if we are unable to even put in a decent performance against opposition who, on paper, are weaker than us, then it speaks volumes about attitudes and about management. I'm not calling for the managers head in November - but good managers are flexible and good managers can change things and grind out results. This is the first real rough patch for Rodgers and at the moment he is failing badly - if it continues I think he has to go - great managers, even in rough times, steer the ship and get the club back on course, get them through the mire. Rodgers just seems to be leading us into stormier waters. I hope it turns around but, given how consistently awful we've been, I'm not exactly hopeful.
-January Transfer Window - there is a lot of talk about potential signings but really I don't think we have the money. Even if we did is there another Sturridge and Coutinho bargain price waiting for us? I don't think so. I think Rodgers, the transfer committee and whoever else is responsible have done serious damage to us this summer. Like when Kenny splurged near £100million on bad signings it will take seasons to recover from if the players don't turn it around. I still hold out a lot of hope for Moreno, Markovic and Lallana but Balotelli and Lambert? We clearly need better.
Written by Seano
07 November 2014
Great article, but the question is, how do we get out of this mess 'quickly'? We bought too many players in the summer and sometimes I wonder if all we're doing is buying the next great player, when surely we have players within the squad/academy who could play a role we need filling! Ed002 keeps talking of players getting Brendaned and if true (and I don't doubt it), we need to work out why that is!
07 November 2014
Good post. Disagree on Lambert and Markovic. Spot on in everything else in my opinion.
I think Lambert hasn't had a proper chance and don't think Markovic was worth half what we paid for him.
I had optimism regarding Balotelli, but I think I over estimated Rodgers as a man manager.
07 November 2014
I think you're right except for one point - unlike with Kenny's outlay, we can recover quickly if the players don't settle in because they are more likely to have resale value. All credit to Downing, Adams, Carroll etc - we had to take a 50% minimum hit on the transfer value to hope to offload them. Players like Lovren, Markovic, Balotelli etc even if we do decide to sell them on, we should be recuperating a fair chunk of it. Plus big wage earners like Enrique and Skrtel who can be pushed out etc...if we get a manager/if BR is willing to use our increadibly talented academy and young players where many are coming of age, a fairly squad turnaround seems financially possible