Let’s hope we find them before Wednesday night at Ewood Park!
Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool are looking for ‘solutions’ to rediscover the scoring verve that was the team’s signature and driving force of our title run last season.
The boss’ comments come after two damaging defeats to Arsenal and Manchester United which may have mortally wounded our quest to get back into the Champions League next season.
Whilst we’ve put in so much hard work to get back in contention for European places, that now seems almost meaningless given we find ourselves seven points off fourth place with just seven games left.
Our potency in front of goal has been seen as a key reason for our early season troubles and it seems to have reared it’s ugly head again over the past few weeks, with no Liverpool player scoring more than six individual goals this season in the League.
Perhaps even more galling is the fact we finished last season with 101 goals, with Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez scoring 52 between them. This term we’ve managed just 45 in 31 matches, and are on course to score just over half of what we did last term at our current rate.
It’s therefore no wonder Rodgers has said we have to rectify ourselves at the front of the team – not just the back, as so keenly demonstrated on Saturday.
“We are still trying to find solutions at the top end of the field,” Rodgers said according to LFC.com.
“When everyone is fit and available we are able to compete with this squad, but our top goalscorer is on six goals. Three players on six goals. That’s the reality of where we are at, and we have to find solutions for that.
“It’s about finding what suits the players. We have obviously got a number of players out now and when we changed the system it suited them. We are always looking to find a way.
“If you look at the game the other day, we created important opportunities at the beginning of the game, but you have to take them. As a whole, I think in terms of the efforts on our opponent’s goal, we need to increase that level.
“Our possession just hasn’t been good enough, that has been the key to it. We have to build the game quickly, but the ball has been so slow.”
Rodgers is correct to highlight our decreased effectiveness in attack this season – we had a hell of a player last season in Luis Suarez, and Daniel Sturridge has struggled for fitness this season.
The absence of our two top scorers from the previous campaign has naturally taken a significant toll, but it’s fair to say we may have expected more from Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Mario Balotelli. Lambert has two Premier League goals this season, while Balotelli and Borini have just one each.
Question marks naturally have to be raised over our recruitment process, but Lambert scored 13 in the Premier League for Southampton last season, Balotelli 14 in Serie A and Borini seven for Sunderland in the English top flight. It’s natural that Rodgers would expect more from his attacking line, but it’s also worth pointing out that given the lack of mobility of Balotelli and Lambert, only Borini really comes close to fitting into the Liverpool playing style from last season, and is obviously far from as prolific a scorer as Suarez.
Rodgers therefore deserves scrutiny too, but hopefully we’ll fix this area of the team in the transfer market this summer.
In the meantime though, we still ought to have enough firepower to defeat Blackburn Rovers in tomorrow night’s FA Cup quarterfinal replay.