Saying thing doesn’t actually mean someone meant them. Brendan Rodgers has spoken about Liverpool no longer being part of the championship race, but it’s hard to believe he’s actually given up on trying to win.
Lowering your expectations is one of Jose Mourinho’s favorite psychological tactics, and Brendan Rodgers did work in proximity with the Portuguese manager in the past. He’s also seeing how well things are going for Chelsea with Mourinho inventing things about their inferiority along the way. Liverpool actually have a case in coming out as the relatively poor and weak team no one is expecting anything from when compared with the rest of the top 4 (or even Tottenham and Manchester United).
I think for us, as a team, it’s too early for that. I was at the Manchester City-Chelsea game the other night and I look at the squads they have, which they have built up over the last few years, and it’s very difficult for us even though we have competed right the way through the season. So, I wouldn’t say for us this year, no. We wouldn’t be challengers for it. We look it and there are six points between us and Chelsea, so there is still a lot to play for and we will be fighting right until the very end. But, if I’m asked to give an honest answer, I’d probably say that this year is too soon for us.
Letting their rivals sleep on them? It’s hard to believe any manager of opposing teams actually takes Rodgers’ words into consideration when prepping his team for a match against Liverpool, but these words seep into minds of rivals and his own players alike. Giving some backhanded motivation isn’t the worst idea in the world, especially after a disappointing 1-1 draw at West Brom that’s now created an 8-point separation between Liverpool and league leaders Arsenal.
Liverpool need better players in quite a few positions and especially more depth in order to truly feel confident about their chances to compete. Sure, Rodgers has made some mistakes on the tactical side of things, but there’s only so much he can do with the limited changes he’s presented with when looking at his bench, especially in the current climate of using Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez and Coutinho all at once.
An excellent post by Steven Kelly pretty much pinpoints what’s wrong with Liverpool under Rodgers, even though many times it’s been exciting and fun to watch them. The over reliance on Suarez and Sturridge sometimes clouds the judgement when it comes to a leaky defense and midfield, finding it difficult to keep a clean sheet and close out games even when they score three goals. This transfer window didn’t yield any new arrivals that will change the world for Liverpool, but perhaps making some changes in his lineup to include one more midfielder and give up on either Sterling or Coutinho from time to time would give Liverpool a better shot of finishing in the top 4 and maybe still being a part of the championship race that’s slowly running away from them.