Reds should stick with Rodgers who needs to tweak approach
It hasn’t gone all according to plan for Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool, 11/4 to achieve a top four finish in the Premier League this season, have failed to make the impact that the Northern Irish manager might have hoped they would make.
Having spent well in excess of £100m on eight new players in the summer, plus securing Javi Manquillo on loan, it was always going to take a bit of time for them all to settle; however, so far only Adam Lallana has really sparkled in spells, having recovered from an injury.
Offloading Luis Suarez for £75m seemed like a wise decision at the time following the Uruguayan’s lengthy ban after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. Hindsight really is a remarkable thing, and it won’t be the last time you’ll be made aware of that. It probably isn’t the first time either.
Selling Suarez could be deemed as the defining factor in Liverpool’s lull. All of a sudden, the Reds looked flat in attack. Starved of spark and creativity, there was a clear lack of killer instinct. For all of his faults, Suarez had that ability every top player has; the talent to create something from nothing, and link play in the final third.
Although Daniel Sturridge is currently injured, and no doubt this has also had an effect on Liverpool’s form, Suarez was the brains in the operation. Raheem Sterling, although only 20, is starting to prove that he doesn’t have the natural killer instinct and awareness that Suarez had in spades.
Quite simply, in the current market, he was irreplaceable. Worthy of mention in the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Neymar.
Perhaps the biggest mistake Rodgers has made is try to emulate the way his team played last season. Did he underestimate the role Suarez had, which enabled them to play like that?
It is clearly evident that Mario Balotelli is not on the same wavelength as Sturridge, like the Uruguayan was. Signing Rickie Lambert, although a nice sentimental touch, was unnecessary. It took for an absolute shortage of strikers before Rodgers decided to start him, and he hit two goals in as many matches, but his drought is back on with none in four since.
With pressure mounting on Rodgers’ future at Anfield (he is 5/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave), which quite simply is ludicrous. He brought a new, exciting brand of football to the club, and although it hasn’t quite worked out this season, he will find a way if given time.
Rodgers can find a way to get the best out of the personnel he has brought in. True, he may need to offload a couple and bring two or three more in, though he merely needs just to tweak it slightly. Still persist with an attacking approach, though simplify it slightly and become more organised in defence.
There is no need to press the panic button, though Rodgers needs to sit down and work out a new strategy that will push them back up the league. Offloading Balotelli as quickly as possible needs to be rendered high priority. A search for the next Suarez should begin in earnest.