Liverpool’s demise started with missing out on Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez
Liverpool blogger Here We Go Again says Reds's demise started with missing out on Alexis Sanchez this summer
Liverpool aren’t living up to expectations this season.
Last term, we were the most entertaining team to watch in the Premier League thanks to the quality of our football going forward, we were a joy to watch.
Now, we are entertaining for opposition fans, who grow louder as they watch the quality of our football deteriorate.
It all started with missing out on Alexis Sanchez in the summer, a player who already has 10 goals for Arsenal this season. We all know that he would have fitted into Brendan Rodgers’s team perfectly.
A few weeks later, we had a deal in place for Loic Remy, he was in America for his medical and the transfer was all set to go through but it fell through at the last-minute for some unknown reason, believed to be his medical.
Remy, like Sanchez, would have fit our style of play perfectly with his pace and quality in front of goal. He has had a decent start at Chelsea already and I am sure Rodgers is disappointed the deal fell through.
Of course, we signed Mario Balotelli, but it hasn’t quite worked out for him this season and there are reasons for that.
Balotelli needs help. A player like the Italian needs to have support around him in order to be at his most effective.
We have seen him link up very well with the midfield because he likes to drop deep and get involved with the play. That is not the type of player you put up front on their own.
Rodgers said that Balotelli was a “fourth or fifth-choice” striker for the club in the summer transfer window.
It is unfortunate we missed out on other targets but surely the club knew the strengths and weaknesses of the players we are bringing in?
If that is the case then Rodgers is not playing to the strengths of the Italian at all, something the manager was so good at doing last season.
When Balotelli has played with a partner, he has looked a completely different player. Look at the games against Ludogorets, Tottenham and Swansea. All of which he played with a partner and guess what? He scored in two out of the three games.
He was a lot better in those games and one of them featured Daniel Sturridge. Yet from 832 minutes, the former Manchester City man has scored two goals – and that is unacceptable.
The system of 4-3-3 is one that is just not working for Liverpool this season, either.
Whenever we have played that formation we have looked poor because all of our players want to come central to collect the ball and leave no width in the side.
What this does is create spaces for the opposition to pick us apart on the counter-attack, which is something that we have been a victim of many times already this season.
The diamond clearly suits our best players’s style of play better than the 4-3-3 does, and once the management realises that, the quicker we will improve.
My final two points are the most important in my eyes and if we can improve on these two then a quick return to form is only around the corner.
Firstly, there is a lack of creativity in the team from open play and set pieces. Liverpool have only scored one goal from a set-piece this season and that is not good enough.
In fact, it is abysmal.
We haven’t scored from over 90 corners, and that was a big part of our threat last season. We are losing even more goals.
It is like Rodgers has decided to change the emphasis this season despite having some very powerful players in Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Balotelli and Rickie Lambert in the side.
In open play, we are also just not quick enough in moving the ball around, either. Last season, we were truly electrifying to watch on the counter-attack and we were lethal in and around the box.
But now, due to the fact Rodgers has no clue what his best XI is, we look disjointed in midfield.
It just seems to be we have one in form individual at a time. Raheem Sterling was first, then Jordan Henderson and now Phillipe Coutinho. Why not all three at once?
These players were in that team last year and should be linking up very well by now.
But we show the flashes of brilliance and Adam Lallana’s goal against West Brom is my favourite so far this season.
The move just flowed perfectly and we had a real purpose to the attack. But for the most part this season teams seem to have figured out how we play and can just sit back.
My final point is that our pressing has to improve. Yes, we scored a lot of goals last season but most of them came through brilliant pressing from the midfield and that has just disappeared.
It is another side of our game we have seen glimpses of. We saw the high press against Spurs and in the opening 10-15 minutes against Real Madrid.
Last season, we shocked teams, we belted them with our aggression and determination to win the ball and get on the front foot early.
This season, we seem to be standing off and inviting pressure on our defence. It is not simple to teach but last season we had it down to a tee and it just looks like Rodgers has dropped the pressing side of our game.
Players like Fabio Borini, who do not have the most quality on the ball do one thing really well. Pressing.
Borini has a real passion for the game and will chase the ball all day long and fits into the category of Henderson. Give him time and he will improve. You play Borini and you excite the crowd because he will challenge for the ball and give 100 per cent.
Of course Liverpool have been unlucky with injuries this season with Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan, both key figures last season, injured for very long periods of time.
We may have lost 80 per cent of our goals this season because of injuries and sales. But that is what that massive transfer budget was supposed to cover so now we have to hold our heads up high for the next two fixtures and go back to the performances of old!
We Go Again is a Liverpool blog. Follow here for everything Liverpool, including news, opinion and much more.