Following defeat at the hands of Manchester United it is time to assess where Liverpool are at and how Brendan Rodgers should approach the task at hand with many predicting him facing the axe after two consecutive defeats.
There is rarely lower that a Liverpool supporter can get than the aftermath of a defeat to arch-nemesis Manchester United. Unfortunately that is where millions of fans currently are at after a drab loss at Old Trafford.
Aside from a few glimpses of brilliance from Memphis Depay there was very little to get excited about from both sides. It was probably a fixture that boasted the most average of starting eleven’s in the sparkling history of the derby. United were definitely the more positive and pro-active team on the park. Their tidy possession and usage of the ball in key areas was a worry to Liverpool throughout the game. This perfectly contrasts the negative approach that Brendan Rodgers seemingly set out with. The very flat 4-5-1 was designed to block the approaches of Van Gaal’s passing game. Danny Ings was employed on the left wing in a role that flummoxed all those watching.
More down to his continued knack for mysterious decisions and the resulting defeats, Rodgers has found himself in the pressurized situation he was in at the end of the 204/2015 season. Following Liverpool’s absolute annihilation at the hands of Stoke City the thought of Rodgers being sacked was spoken with varied excitement. The Liverpool Echo are reporting that the Northern Irishman could be sacked after failing to provide a positive start to the opening of the season.
There are two ways to approach this rumour. The first, and more likely, being that its exactly that: a rumour, designed to attract the gullible to gain more views. The second possibility is that there is some truth to the report. While I don’t think Liverpool’s owners are going to push the panic button as early as September I think the truth lies in that they are done waiting for Rodgers’ theory of how football works to be revealed in the form of a football hybrid featuring Joe Allen, Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli. His days are indeed limited, that is if he can’t get his act together.
I would really love for it to work out for Rodgers and him to bring success to Liverpool but for me the likelihood of this happening doesn’t compare to the likelihood that he will at some point be handed his payout and asked to leave. It will be said that his departure was a result of a mutual understanding and a shared interest in the future of the club. Colin, you listening?
The fact of the matter, however, is that he will be staying on Merseyside. In order for his stay to be one of prosperity his first step needs to be to get Dejan Lovren as far away from Liverpool as possible and to reinstate Mamadou Sakho. His second step should be to try and impress upon Lucas Leiva that a good defensive midfielder doesn’t commit professional fouls whenever he can, only when he needs to. Last night the Brazilian was awful to watch with play becoming disjointed due to his clumsy tackling.
Liverpool are ridiculously far off what a top four team should look like. Aside from Christian Benteke’s gorgeous overhead kick there was no attacking keenness about the Merseyside Reds in Manchester. Liverpool’s goal-scoring options will be boosted with Daniel Sturridge’s return to training last week. Rodgers said that he was going to be unavailable for the clash with United but that he looks to be in good shape.
“There is no timeline as to when he will be fit to participate in the game but he is obviously back in training, which is good,” said Rodgers, the Liverpool manager. “He looked really sharp in training, probably the best he’s looked fitness-wise for 18 months, and it will be really good when he gets back.
“I can never say that he is over the worst of his injuries because I don’t want to sit here and something happens in a couple of months’ time. I can only look at what I see and from my experiences in the past I don’t want to put any timeline on him coming back.
“I am grateful for the work done in America, for our own medical team who have done a brilliant job to do everything they possibly could to get Daniel back to a level of fitness. He has worked hard. He has joined in with the group and we will take it from there, day-by-day.”
Sturridge’s return will be a boost in that he will provide a solid strike partner for Benteke and that he knows Rodgers style. Oh wait, there is no style to be accustomed to. The side that Sturridge was so instrumental in the 2013/2014 season is a far cry from what is on show now.