By Ben Owusu (by @benowusu_)
We’re three months into the 2014/2015 Premier League season and Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool look nothing like they did towards the end of last season. They’ve had to endure with the loss of Luis Suarez, the double injury to Daniel Sturridge and a host of new signings who are still finding their feet in Brendan Rodgers’ squad.
Here are Five things Brendan Rodgers should get right by the end of the year.
1. Sort out Steven Gerrard’s future.
When news of Steven Gerrard’s contract issues broke out, rumours were raised that this could be Steven Gerrard’s final season in a Liverpool shirt, which of course by the end of an era for the living legend of the club. This should be the first thing Rodgers should do. Steven Gerrard still remains a vital part of Liverpool’s squad as he could still play on for at least another 1-2 seasons despite the recent criticism of his form and his declining age.
2. Get Liverpool Into The UEFA Champions League Knockout Stages
When Liverpool were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League back in 2009, few would think that it would it would take them so long to get back into the competition they have triumphed five times. 2014 would be the year they returned to the Champions League but were drawn in the same group with the current European champions Real Madrid. Four games into the group stages and Liverpool sit third in Group B after back-to back losses to Real Madrid and their loss to FC Basel which has proved to be Liverpool’s worst performance so far. Their 2-1 victory against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets Razgrad is the three points so far keeping them with a chance to progress to the knockout stages. Up next for Liverpool is a match against Ludogorets in Bulgaria where Rodgers should definitely play a strong squad to play for a good result and then later play FC Basel at Anfield where they should look to progress to the next stage.
3. Get Mario Balotelli To Score At Least Five Goals By Christmas
Mario Balotelli so far has been woeful since his £16 Million Pound move in the summer and is now feeling the pressure to deliver as he promised he would. So far, Mario is yet to score in the Premier League as he has only scored two goals in all competitions which included a his strike against the lowly Ludogorets Razgrad and his 85th minute strike against Swansea to level the scoreline in which Dejan Lovren would score to send Liverpool into the fifth round of the Capital One Cup. For Mario Balotelli to score his first goal in the league would be vital for him to kickstart his Liverpool career, although this does not seem possible without the presence of Daniel Sturridge’s constant pressing and creativity as Balotelli fails to create chances for himself or his teammates which is holding Liverpool back in the goalscoring department of their game. So a setting small goal targets could potentially unleash his full potential.
4. Get Liverpool Within Reach Of The Top 4
Lets face it, Liverpool’s hopes of claiming their first premier league title is already dashed. Brendan Rodgers’ aim should be to keep Liverpool in the Champions League. Chelsea remain unbeaten and on top of the table after only two draws so far this season and have the quality in their squad to match the 2003/2004 Arsenal invincibles squad. With Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City all struggling to maintain its consistency, this could be a great opportunity for Liverpool to claw back into the top four, which would also keep the pressure off Brendan Rodgers as his job slowly comes under scrutiny.
5. Get In Early In the Winter Transfer Window
This summer, we saw Chelsea’s transfer activity move very swiftly with the sale of David Luiz to PSG for £50 Million and the signings of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. Brendan Rodgers should look to emulate the actions of Jose Mourinho in January as this will allow him to get the players to settle into the squad quicker and getting them to play to their best abilities which will leave him to be able to assess his squad from their and not worry about the deadline day madness. If Liverpool feel they need another striker than they should look to sign Jackson Martinez from Porto as it has been reported by The Express’ Anthony Chapman. Jackson Martinez could be the marquee striker Liverpool need as a replacement for Luis Suarez as he has the ability to score goals whenever possible and has an impressive goalscoring record at his time in Portugal, scoring 72 goals in 106 appearances.