As Saturday’s show down against West Brom draws closer there is no sign of Sturridge making an appearance as he continues to recover from a thigh strain he picked up while training with the English team. The striker has been sorely missed during the last six consecutive games which resulted in disappointing performances from the team and Wednesday’s defeat against Basel was eye opening, as both Rogers and Gerrard openly criticized the team, lamented Suárez and shed light on the Balotelli Situation -the striker has only scored one goal since making his move in early September.
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The other big concern for Saturday’s match and for the rest of the season is the weak performance of Mario Balotelli, who is still struggling to become accustomed to Liverpool’s style of play. The Italian has failed to score for four games in a row now, and Rodgers was criticized for his performance during the Basel match but maintains “The boy is trying, he is working hard.” On top of just two shots on target during the match, reports claimed the Rodgers was furious with the player as he walked straight down the tunnel after the match instead of applauding the traveling fans like Rodgers asked.
Gerrard speaking about the disheartening group B encounter stated “I thought we were too soft all over the pitch. I thought they wanted it more, which is very disappointing”. The only goal of the night was conceded from a set piece which has been Liverpool’s downfall this season and something that Rodgers is working on in practice.
Something which was not expected from Rodgers after the midweek match was his comment on Balotelli’s transfer “There were very few who are top class who were available and Mario Balotelli was a calculated gamble that we had to try to work with.” After Suárez’s £75m move to Barca, the Reds originally tried to get Alexis Sánchez but the Chilean decided to choose Arsenal instead.
Everyone knew that the ‘settling in’ phase for the team would be long. With so many new players on the team, everyone trying to find their feet, Brendan trying new formations not to mention the added demand of the midweek match it’s not a surprise that we are having problems. It is time for the Reds to refocus on the objectives of the club in the Premier League, hopefully by 3pm Saturday.