Liverpool’s latest non-performance leaves Rodgers still searching for a winning formula, writes Paul Higgins…
With such an inexperienced manager at the helm, what’s been important for me during Brendan Rodgers‘ tenure is his ability to learn quickly, particularly in regards to tactics. If this is the long term project we’ve been told we need, then patience will be required during the process.
With the same level of understanding that he gives his young charges, the fans need to know that Rodgers is bound to make mistakes but that it’s all part and parcel of his learning and development. He made mistakes in his first two seasons and some were even big errors.
But until recently they were few and far between and on the whole the trajectory of his, and the club’s, development has been steadily upward. By his own admission, we moved ahead of schedule last season with a title tilt and automatic qualification for the Champions League.
However, with each passing game this season, Rodgers and the team are heading backwards (downwards – when considering the table), and currently with four straight losses we are close to free fall if something doesn’t change.
Most of us have been saying the same thing for weeks; if the performances don’t change then the system or personnel must. You couldn’t swing a cat in the Liverpool dressing room without hitting an under performing player lately.
With Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson sidelined on Sunday, there were two enforced changes as Adam Lallana, our most expensive summer signing, and Rickie Lambert were handed starts. Tactically Raheem Sterling played further forward in a two man attack as we shifted to a diamond midfield. The result? We score early.
Unfortunately there weren’t many other positives to follow the first 90 seconds and we were served up the same mediocrity that has become commonplace – shambolic in defence with a bag of nerves in goal, mostly predictable and laboured in midfield and totally toothless in attack.
Jamie Carragher says we were out fought on the pitch. Well, worryingly Rodgers is being out thought too by those ardent disciples of the beautiful game Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew and now Neil Warnock.
Rodgers is making some strange decisions and non-decisions (i.e. persevering with Dejan Lovren, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard) but moreover he is being precisely the opposite of what he says he is not, dogmatic.
Rodgers has to get himself and this team back on track. Not making the top four means we will have to hear the same PR sound bites we’ve been hearing for the past five years; we can’t attract quality signings because we can’t offer them Champions League.
My patience with Rodgers is wearing thin just contemplating that scenario.
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