Honeymoon Over For Rodgers
Liverpool lost again on Boxing Day for their 6th league defeat of the season. It has been a very inconsistent season for the Reds, but everyone connected with the Anfield club realise that this is a season of transition, with a new young manager at the helm.
Brendan Rodgers has been given the backing from the supporters and the owners, which is important, and his passing style of play has impressed the supporters along with his introduction of many young players into the first team. Brendan Rodgers is also media friendly, as his post-match interviews have proved, along with his starring role in the behind the scenes documentary “Being Liverpool”. Rodgers’ relationship with the media has been very encouraging after previous manager, Kenny Dalglish’s frosty and awkward relationship with the media.
But for the first time since Rodgers took over in the summer, there has been some grumblings of unrest from the Anfield faithful, probably, triggered by the way Liverpool lost to Stoke the other night and not just by the defeat itself. It looked like a re-run of the Aston Villa defeat, not so long ago, apart from the fact that Liverpool never led in the Villa match. In both matches Liverpool’s defence looked vulnerable and a lack of creation in the final third never caused the opposition defenders too much trouble. But the lack of passion and commitment to get back into these matches caused the biggest concern. Gerrard and Suarez looked like the only two players willing to give their all for the club in the face of defeat and that is what is not good enough for Liverpool supporters.
Liverpool lost many experienced players in the summer who did a good job for the club over the years, and when you look at who Rodgers has brought in to improve the team, well, I’m not sure they are better, Assaidi, Yesil and Sahin can’t get a game, ok Borini has been unfortunate with injury, but in his short spell he has only contributed one goal and struggled with the pace of the Premiership. Even big money signing Joe Allen is struggling to get a game recently since Lucas returned from injury. So his transfer record is not impressing so far, and hopefully he can change that in January.
Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement a “Barcelona” style into his Liverpool side, but although Liverpool have played good football many times throughout the season, he doesn’t have the players “Barcelona” have and in defence especially his style doesn’t work. I don’t know how many times this season Liverpool have lost goals from trying to pass in their defensive third. Against Stoke it was getting embarrassing as Stoke hustled Liverpool into mistake after mistake. Liverpool’s defenders are not comfortable enough in possession to play this way and the sooner Rodgers realises the better for Liverpool. Recent stats have shown that Liverpool pass mostly in their defensive third, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Reina gets the most touches with all the back passes he receives. I’m not saying Liverpool should play long ball tactics but you have to be versatile and be able to play different styles, depending on who you are playing against and if the preferred style is not working then be willing to change.
Patience has been granted to Rodgers throughout this inconsistent first season, but football is a results driven business and he must find that consistency or face being under pressure from the supporters, but more importantly from the trigger happy American owners.
I don’t think there is a need to panic yet and I think Brendan Rodgers should get at least this whole season, hopefully longer to prove himself. But he has to show the supporters and the owners that the club is progressing in the right direction and for the first time many Liverpool supporters are wondering if that is happening.