Thursday’s newspapers saw a host of “5 reasons for Liverpool’s slump” type articles after another disappointing defeat and performance against Basel on Wednesday night.
Having failed to win a game – without the aid of penalties – since August, Brendan Rodgers’ side are feeling the pressure. Where before the problem of a leaky defence was seemingly the only issue at Anfield, now arguably the problem is that there are so many problems.
We asked the This Is Anfield writers what they think is the main reason for the current poor form at Liverpool.
Last year’s achievements were built on high energy, two strikers at the top of their game and a growing belief that title was there for the taking. And now the energy is sporadic, neither striker is available for different reasons, and the Devon Lock style capitulation of last season is perhaps playing on everyone’s minds, including the boss.
Defence doesn’t trust their goalkeeper and the goalkeeper doesn’t trust his defence.
The biggest problem is we are not compact away from home, there are too big a gap between the lines, this leaves each line isolated and teams can run at us with ease. Teams push up on us now too as they are not dropping off and doubling up on Suarez which gave other attackers space last season.
Uncharacteristically, we’re not good enough when in possession of the ball, and that’s why Joe Allen’s absence is being felt more so than ever before. Passing accuracy, chances created and possession percentages are down massively on last season, and as a result we never look like scoring, yet we don’t look any more assured at the back.
Signings. It was a summer in which it was agreed that we needed to step up and make stand-out signings. We lost Sturridge and had no replacement. We bought squad players.
Loss of Identity – Brendan Rodgers arrived at Liverpool Football Club with a firm, possession-based footballing philosophy. Over time, that has seeped away; we could do with going back to that now, particularly having lost the unpredictable individuality of Luis Suarez.
Lack of quality – Still early doors, but the loss of Suarez hasn’t helped. The quality of players brought in (so far) hasn’t been good enough. I know it’s easier said than done, but you need to replace proven quality with proven quality – players with international and Champions League experience. We had the money, yet got Lambert and Markovic in instead of Diego Costa and Fabregas! Always, always, always strengthen the team, not the squad!
Coaching – almost all of our current problems can be sorted out with good quality work on the field. Be it defending from set pieces, lack of ball retention in midfield, poor movement upfront, poor pressing or Mingolet not commanding the box, the whole set can be rectified off the pitch but it has not yet been done. Midweek football to blame?
Without being predictable and bashing Steven Gerrard or lamenting the injury to Daniel Sturridge, I suggest that another injury, to Joe Allen, has been the biggest problem for Liverpool during this upset in form. The Welshman has proven his ability to bind the midfield in his three appearances so far and, with a distinct gulf between Gerrard and Jordan Henderson and the forward line in recent games, as well as an inability to sustain any pressure on the opposition, Allen’s absence has been felt massively.
Consistency – one key word which is forever hounding top flight football clubs. It is easy to pin blame on isolated areas such as the confidence-abolished form of Simon Mignolet or the defence as an entirety, however the problem with Liverpool right now is a lack of both fluid football and understanding. A spanner has been thrown into Brendan Rodgers’ machine presently, and, until the northern Irishman discovers how to remedy it, our frustrations may linger on.
New Signings – a lack of them being players in their “prime” (only Lallana and perhaps Lambert can be considered as such). Buying potential is admirable to build for the future but if we’re so far behind by that time then it’s of little value. We need to ensure we are in the Champions League football next season, getting back in again takes years, as we well know.
What do you think is Liverpool’s biggest problem? Let us know in the comments below.