West Ham certainly brought high-flying Liverpool down to earth, well most Liverpool fans knew they were a little fortunate to have six points from their first two games, though they did deserve to at least score against Arsenal. Last season’s frailties were exposed at Anfield with the Liverpool defence not doing their job properly and the attack certainly lacked a lot of bites, not referring to Suarez’s other antics on the pitch.
Liverpool seemed to be on the right track, after keeping three clean sheets and looking good in defence, well that certainly does not seem to be so any more. The international break might have come at the right time for Brendan Rodgers to take a good hard look at their problems and prepare for the small matter of taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford next.
Liverpool certainly had one target in their mind, which was making the top four but has this one rather disappointing performance changed those expectations?
A talented squad that can be much more
There have been many questions raised about Brendan Rodgers’ experience of taking Liverpool to the next level. He did bring Liverpool fairly close to winning the Premier League title a couple of seasons ago but that was built on the amazing performances of one Luis Suarez. Post Suarez, Liverpool do not seem to have any sort of bite in attack and with Daniel Sturridge missing out due to injury, their new signing of Christian Benteke will have to deliver along with Danny Ings and the forgotten Divock Origi.
The defence is the region which needs a lot of work and hoping that they keep a clean sheet with Lovren at the back isn’t a surety. Where can Liverpool finish this season is a tough question to answers. We saw recently that Louis van Gaal and David Moyes had similar results but Moyes ended seventh with United while Van Gaal brought them back to the Champions League.
The performances of the other clubs in the league are the answer to Liverpool’s finishing position. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal haven’t looked all that great and with Liverpool playing the big clubs in their first seven away games, even a few losses might not harm them in their quest to qualify for Europe.
The team has to kick on for Rodgers’ sake; many already predict the Liverpool manager will be sacked before the end of the season, especially with Jurgen Klopp waiting in the wings. Liverpool need to perform and Rodgers could get the best out of them like he did with the Suarez team, but he first needs to know what his strongest team is.
Liverpool relies a bit too much on Coutinho and the Brazilian will miss the game against United, having picked up a red card against West Ham. Either way, Liverpool need to kick on, they have a great chance of making it back to the Champions League if they can eke out results, similar to the first three games.
Sometimes defending first and thinking about attack later is the right approach. Thou shalt not lose, that needs to be the motto for Liverpool and if their defence starts to click and with many of the big guns struggling, Liverpool should be able to make it into the top four. They do need to get their act together and the faster Rodgers does that, the better the chances for Liverpool to finish in the top four and for the Northern Irishman to stay at the club.