Another season for Liverpool, and once again they look like a one-man club. Daniel Sturridge isn’t playing, while Brendan Rodgers and his players, from Mario Balotelli in the front to his failing defensive line, are sinking to lows the team’s fans have grown quite accustomed to.
In the league? Two wins, three losses and one draw. In the Champions League? One 93rd minute win over Ludogorets with a controversial penalty call, and a 1-0 loss to Basel with another goal conceded through a set piece. In the League Cup? A 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough but going through after a legendary penalty shootout (14-13).
One step forward, two steps back. Last season helped cement Rodgers’ reputation as something of a genius in building a team, but the struggles early this year, added to some of his team’s less impressive moments in 2013-2014 and his so-so debut season at Anfield paint a different piece of art altogether. Maybe it was all about Luis Suarez putting together a season that almost won Liverpool the championship, and not so much about Rodgers piecing together an electrifying club.
One of the more depressing aspects of Liverpool this season is the style. Even during the awful 2012, a carry over from Dalglish’s disastrous ending at the club, Liverpool played with adventure, speed and daring. Last season was action packed from start to finish on most game days, and even without winning the championship, Liverpool were the best show in the Premier League.
But this season? Except for the win over Tottenham and some good minutes in the opening win over Southampton and the draw against Everton, Liverpool look sluggish, confused and predictable. The defense without Daniel Agger, foolishly let go to Brondby for some reason, is conceding goals at an alarming rate in very avoidable situations.
If Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool have spent over £212 million on new players over the last two seasons, it’s inconceivable that not being able to sell Fabio Borini to Sunderland is the reason the club is in such a problem when it comes to another Useful striker in the squad.
Maybe it’s still a matter of time till everything comes together. Maybe Rodgers is a genius and his expensive signings came with plenty of thought behind him. But it’s not just Mario Balotelli who looks out of place and out of touch. Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren. They don’t seem to match the price paid for them. Liverpool weren’t tabbed as title contenders, but being in the bottom half of the league or even outside Champions League contention is clearly a failure.
Only six weeks in, so there’s plenty of time to fix things and look better. Patience is always a required part of the equation when following a team. Yet too many alarm bells are going off all over the place. If Rodgers and his players don’t turn the ship in the right direction soon, it’ll be as if last season never actually happened.