The season has only just commenced, only 5 games have been played and a new favourite for the sack has emerged. It comes as no surprise to hear that the constantly under-fire Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is the man on whom Sky Sports have made 1/2 odds in the sack race. Liverpool have played 45 minutes of top-4 worthy football out of the possible 450, getting only 7 points. The Reds currently sit 10th in the Premier League table behind Leicester City, West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Norwich City and so the list goes on. But what can the Liverpool boss do to turn his season around before they slide even further?
1) Play players in their own positions
This may sound basic to anyone, even to an armchair Manchester United fan from Chittagong, Bangladesh, and especially to a Premier League manager. But as it seems, not to Brendan Rodgers. In their previous Premier League outing at Old Trafford, Rodgers finally deployed a second striker to aid the isolated Christian Benteke (who’s still managed to impress for the Merseysiders). Danny Ings was the man, and he played left wing back, leading to a flood of angry fans. Some of whom even decided to raise money to fund the sacking of Brendan Rodgers himself. Other names that have been misused are Roberto Firmino, Dejan Lovren (who’s position should be anywhere but on the field for Liverpool), and Philippe Coutinho in the game vs Stoke, in which he still managed to produce a beauty. But let’s save the praises and continue with the criticism.
2) Integrate the new signings and bring back key men
It is a well known fact that the Reds have struggled from the absence of Daniel Sturridge, add to that the late discussion of Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho, and i’m not even going to mention Jon Flanagan. Brendan Rodgers must do his utmost best to ensure that Daniel Sturridge’s injury woes end and that he starts getting regular game time alongside Benteke, and in the long run, replicating his phenomenal form of 2013/14. Add to these names the extensive list of new signings that have yet to settle in, from the 2015/16 transfer window and even the 2014/15. From the runners up starting XI of 2013/14, only 4 remain (Mignolet, Skrtel, Sakho and Henderson) of which only three are regular starters. Such a new team brings instability to Liverpool, and newer signings can only make it worse. No matter how marquee or costly.
3) Scrap 4-3-3 and play Liverpool diamond of 13/14
There is no need for an argument or a debate here. Stats speak for themselves, in 2013/14 Liverpool had come the closest they have ever done in 24 years to winning the Premier League, in 2014/15 Liverpool finished with 0 silverware and a gap of 25 points from Chelsea. And no, Liverpool have invested heavily, maybe not well or wisely but have done. Money and 4-3-3 doesn’t buy success. Especially when you have Christian Benteke playing as a lone striker. A diamond formation will help Liverpool stitch up the gap between the midfield and forwards, and will bring back the ‘Liverpool way’ of 2013/14 that so many admired.
4) Replace Lovren and Skrtel; play Sakho
Dejan Lovren. Dejan fuc*ing Lovren. There is nothing to say bar the fact that there has been no bigger flop in a Red jersey since Andy Carroll and Diouf. It took him over a year to clock in a more than decent performance, and it was against Stoke. Partner that with a veteran Martin Skrtel (who in my opinion has been ‘past it’ for a good year and a bit) and you have one small problem for Liverpool and a huge one to their ambitions. No team in the Premier League top 4 conceded more than 38 goals in the season of 2014/15, Liverpool conceded 48. Six against Stoke, 4 against Arsenal, 3 against Manchester United, 3 against Crystal Palace, and the list goes on. Such dire mistakes went close to unnoticed in 2013/14 due to the sheer brilliance of Luis Suarez & co but it’s not 13/14. At this point in time, I can’t recall the last time we have scored more than one goal in a game, actually. And that’s fine and very 2013/14 Chelsea-esque, provided you have the defence for it. And it’s finally time for Liverpool to wake up from history, future and moneyball. It’s time to buy end product players. Although you cal argue this for Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke, however Liverpool have missed out on names such as Falcao, Reus, Kroos, Illamerendi, Tevez, Makhitiryan, Benzema, Pjanic and more.
5) Get the fans back on side
A seemingly impossible and cliche task for any under-fire manager, however Brendan Rodgers, as we have seen previously, is very capable of creating the impression of Messiah for the Anfield faithful. Two years on and you have a fund to sack the poor man. Such a task will come with results, which will come only if he fixes the side’s ongoing troubles.
As I write this, Liverpool finish their disappointing Europa League 15/16 debut game, drawing 1-1 to Bordeux. Is this finally the line for Brendan Rodgers?