Somehow it almost feels like Deja vu, like something that we’ve experienced before. After a season of narrowly missing out on that Premier League crown, Liverpool FC are yet again in that, yes, the phrase you hate, transition phase.
This season has always been billed as the most difficult season of Brendan Rodgers’ career. From losing Suarez, to how he will man manage good old Mario Balotelli, as well as Steven Gerrard’s transition into what many consider that final phase of his career. We lie in that mid-table dogfight at the moment, and whilst it is not the ideal place to bit come Christmas, we have to accept that we don’t have the caliber of players to put a strong challenge forward for that Champions League place.
Our defence has, quite shockingly, been saved its blushes by Kolo Toure of late (which says a lot of our defending this season), whilst in midfield we aren’t providing quality service for our attackers to finish off. In addition, there’s been that big stumbling block which is Daniel Sturridge’s fitness. Essentially, there has been problems all over the pitch this season, and I can see why the argument against giving Brendan Rodgers is being made.
But doesn’t this ring a bell? What do Brendan Rodgers and Kenny Dalglish’s signings have in common (let’s ignore Luis Suarez for this debate)? They’ve all struggled to deliver. Even Jordan Henderson initially struggled to adapt in Liverpool together with the likes of Andy Carroll & Stewart Downing.
This is pretty similar to what has happened with Rodgers’ signings as well, as Dejan Lovren and Simon Mignolet have been mediocre at best. Personally, I feel Lovren and Mignolet have the ability to be absolutely top class players. I was personally a big fan of Lovren in his time at Southampton and thought signing him (even at 20 million pounds) was a pretty good steal considering Daniel Agger’s declining minutes.
Liverpool need to build confidence in defence and goalkeepers
But I feel at least it is quite clear to see why Liverpool are struggling at the moment. I feel they’re controlling the tempo of the game, limiting opponents to a very limited amount of chances, whilst making a number for themselves. However, whenever opponents do go forward, they come forward with a greater threat. They are well aware of the confidence crisis at the back not only among the defenders, but among the goalkeepers as well.
Liverpool had the jabs, but Manchester United had the knockout punches
Gary Neville, after Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Liverpool
This, I feel has been the problem all season so far. Personally, I feel it goes back to Liverpool’s coaching staff, and what they’re doing with the goalkeepers. There was an analysis which I saw a year or two ago about Pepe Reina’s numbers and what drew my attention was Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach remains to be John Achterberg. This, despite reports suggesting that he had left the post at roughly the same time as Damien Comolli.
I think its something that Liverpool need to assess and see whether it can improve, because, quite frankly, Brad Jones display against Manchester United, as well as Mignolet’s performances have been dismal at best.
There’s been two very different arguments as to whether Brendan Rodgers should stay on as Liverpool FC manager. One saying that Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were the men behind his success, whilst the other end of the stick saying that he was the man behind our success last season, so we should give him more time.
My personal point of view? I honestly think he is still the best (available) man for the job at present. I still feel that this team plays very well with regard to pressing, keeping the ball, and it is fairly obvious where our problems lie. I think they are problems that, although time consuming, are pretty small going forward, and hence still think that Brendan Rodgers should continue in the Liverpool FC dugout.
But the best Liverpool can hope for is that Daniel Sturridge can return and be that messiah which Liverpool fans are pining for right now, because I don’t have confidence in any single one of our fit strikers at the moment of leading the line. (Pepe Reina, oh how I miss you)Published 16 Dec 2014, 04:30 IST