Mikey Brown argues that despite Liverpool’s clear struggles at the moment, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Brendan Rodgers and his Anfield outfit.
It was a fine April day seven months ago when the entire red half of Liverpool were left dreaming and believing that a 19th title was possible having beaten Manchester City 3-2 at Anfield. The atmosphere was electric as well as the game. Liverpool had passed another hurdle on their quest for the title.
Unfortunately for Brendan Rodgers’ side, we all know how the dream became a reality and seven months on, Liverpool are still suffering from the biggest disappointment they have endured for quite some time.
A lot has been made over the loss of Luis Suarez and of course when you lose a world class player like that who brought so many dimensions to the team’s game, yes you will miss him, and yes it will affect the team’s morale as well as performances.
We have seen it at many teams when a side loses a formidable player in their team. For example, Arsenal and Manchester United both lost Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane in their line ups and both teams suffered drastically in their performances.
These were massive players on and off the pitch; internationals who were captains for both club and country. These players stood tall and firm in their dressing rooms, inspiring as well as motivating their team mates to victory.
They had an aura about them that affected their team mates in a positive way to go and play and play to the best of their abilities. It goes to show that one person can make a massive difference to a team.
Suarez had the exact same effect on the Liverpool team. He made players play better. He made them pick themselves up when they were down, and he helped them to victory, almost leading Liverpool to a 19th title. Even though Liverpool’s defensive unit was not the strongest, it didn’t matter as Luis Suarez was always able to produce a moment of magic that could lead to a chance to get Liverpool ahead.
Now that he has gone and Liverpool have suffered from their end-of-season woes, who have Liverpool got to look up to? The Reds have kept the nucleus of their squad and have also spent a lot of money on trying to strengthen in depth.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the money Rodgers has spent has been wasteful and a lot of eyebrows are being raised about the players he has brought in. The transfer of Mario Balotelli has to be the one of the biggest transfer shocks of this day and age.
A man who can’t even get his bib on without supervision has been given the responsibility to replace the world class Luis Suarez. Rodgers has spent massive amounts of money on unproven talent and they will take a quite a lot of time to gel. As he famously quoted about Tottenham last year,
“When a team spend £100 million on players, you should be winning the league.”
With the added pressure of Champions League football, Liverpool have also found it hard to maintain strong and consistent performances in Europe as well as domestically.
Sturridge has been missing since the 3-0 demolishing of Tottenham at White Hart Lane and Balotelli has been as useful as a chocolate-covered teapot. A lot of the onus left from Suarez has been placed on the young shoulders of Raheem Sterling as well as on the international scene for England.
He is the brightest spark Liverpool have at the moment, and for a 19-year-old to be depended on like that is a massive burden to carry.
Steven Gerrard is not the dependable force he once was and at the age of 34, he can no longer be depended upon to win games by himself. Liverpool have problems at the back which desperately need to be fixed. Leaks and gaps appear to be everywhere and they need to be plugged as soon as possible if they want to have any chance of even qualifying for the Champions League next year.
Rodgers needs to adapt his “tiki-taka” style of play and tweak it slightly as it does not seem to suit the players that he has available at the moment. All of the top managers in the world know how, and when to adapt their team’s style of play when the going gets tough.
Let’s not forget he is only 41 and for a young manager he has done remarkably well. He was given a massive job in turning Liverpool around, a sleeping giant that has fallen short of its past glories. Rodgers himself is still learning and the Liverpool board should keep the faith with him.
He has strong beliefs and will become a top manager in years to come. He has been unfortunate with injuries; the loss of Luis Suarez has been a massive blow, as well as being in the Champions League it has been difficult to manage the team as it is a first for many players playing in the top club competition in the world.
It is hard as a fan to see your club fall from grace and fall behind but as the old saying goes
“Things get worse before they get better.”
Mikey Brown, Pundit Arena