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Liverpool should start to consider sacking Brendan Rodgers

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£212 million. That is the figure that Brendan Rodgers has spent at Anfield since he took the hot-seat in 2012. Just let that figure sink in. 

And for what? He guided Liverpool to an almost title winning campaign last season, finishing just two points behind Manchester City in one of the most exciting title races in recent years.

This season, things are quite different on Merseyside. Liverpool sit on just 14 points after ten domestic fixtures and are seriously struggling for form.

The loss of Luis Suarez has been massive for the Reds, given the talent he brought to the table. He lead the Liverpool attack last season, menacing every defender in the English game and finished the campaign on 31 top flight goals. 

Before the biting incident on Giorgio Chellani during the World Cup, almost every Liverpool fan expected Suarez to leave Merseyside in the summer for either Barcelona or Real Madrid. Although it may have been a tougher fight for him to leave than if he had not bit the Italian defender, Suarez would have fought to have left and likely got his way.

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The failure to plan for this was Rodgers' first made a mistake. Whether he was so optimistic that the Uruguayan would have stayed at Anfield and thought he did not need to replace him may be one conclusion, but my thoughts are that the Northern Irishman thought he could instead mould a youngster into a world class talent instead of bringing another in.

Miss-hit signings

The former Swansea City manager has a theory at Liverpool - plan for the future through buying young players and moulding them into his methods. 

In theory, this works. In practise it is failing miserably. 

Over the summer months, Rodgers paid out over £100 million on new recruits to build on the success of last season. 

Some of those signings have been very popular - Adam Lallana, signed for £25 million from Southampton has looked very good, Emre Can for £10 million has impressed in the centre-of-midfield and £12 million Spaniard Alberto Moreno has put some good performances in on the left-hand side of defence. 

However, at a strike-rate of 33%, that is not good enough. Rodgers has drafted in some players who don't look like they'll come good.

Lazar Markovic joined for £20 million from Benfica in the summer.

He is not showing any signs that he will succeed at the club, as the Serbian does the bare minimum when he does get a call-up, instead of taking risks. Albeit, he is only 20-years-old and still settling, however there has not been on indication he will come good.

Likewise, Dejan Lovren has not yet settled in, putting in some rather dismal performances at the back and not looking like the player he did at Southampton.

Mario Balotelli was bought as a late replacement as Luis Suarez. Considering that Liverpool had £75 million in the bank to purchase a new striker, they spent less than a quarter of that sum to bring in the £16 million controversial forward to the shores of the River Mersey from AC Milan.

The Italian's career has been riddled with problems wherever he has gone. At Inter Milan, he failed to make an impression, likewise Manchester City and AC Milan yet, Rodgers thought he could somehow come good at Liverpool.

The notion of some fans is that Balotelli is not a direct replacement for Suarez.

Answer me this - what else has he been brought in to do? Suarez scored goals, and the 24-year-old is a forward - scoring goals is part of the job description.

Too many signings

Eight new faces have been brought to the club, with the exception of Divock Origi who is spending a year out on loan at Lille. That move is another questionable part of negotiations move to send the Belgian out on loan for a season. Given Liverpool's striker situation when he signed, Rodgers should have put his foot down and paid a few extra quid to acquire his services for this term.

Not a game has gone by that Rodgers has not changed his starting line-up. There are the usual's who start; Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Simon Mignolet and Raheem Sterling and Dejan Lovren have started every Premier League game.

However, there are over 50% of positions in the Liverpool side that are not guaranteed.

It's one of two questions - who is impressing the most in training or is Rodgers still searching to find out what his best team is?

I suspect it is the latter.

Last season, you knew who was going be lining for the Reds and that stability allowed team-mates to really become accustomed to one another's game. Philippe Coutinho knew his team-mates where in-front of him, playing cutting edge balls to the forward three of Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.

Coutinho has been so under-par this term because he is playing with different players all of the time. Last season, he could pass without even looking as he gelled so well with his team-mates. It did take time, but through time on the field together, Liverpool's attack developed into a deadly four-pronged forward-line.

Rodgers to blame

Considering he had the money to sign a top class striker, Rodgers instead chose to sign Balotelli.

Even at his best, the Italian is an average Premier League footballer, no better than a Charlie Austin or Shane Long. In all fairness, those two are better than the Italian at the minute, especially the former.

When you look at the strikers that have been signed by club's in the summer - Romelu Lukaku to Everton, Diego Costa and Loic Remy to Chelsea, Danny Welbeck to Arsenal and Radamel Falcao to Manchester United - the Reds have got by far the worst deal.

Liverpool have a striker who is lazy and not willing to change his style to match the way the Merseyside club play.

We all knew this prior to him signing. Yet, for some bizarre reason, the Reds boss thought it would be a good idea to sign the Italian up. 

This was a mistake from Rodgers. He could have easily splashed the cash and signed top European scorer who is a proven goalscorer.

And the worst thing is, the Northern Irishman is not even playing the 24-year-old correctly if Balotelli is to shine.

We've saw time and time again when Balotelli has actually performed well, that he's had a striker alongside him. On debut against Tottenham Hotspur, he played up-front with Daniel Sturridge, and put in a fairly encouraging performance. Likewise, when Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini have joined him off the bench he's put in much better efforts up top.

However, for the most part, Balotelli has been left isolated up-front on his own. 

Every football fan can see that he has to have a partner with him. Yet, Rodgers believes different for some reason and carries on playing the striker alone.

Not only that, but tactics are too changed every game. During the early part of the season, we saw Raheem Sterling have so much success when playing almost in the number ten role. However, recently, Sterling has been playing wide and not had the same impact on games.

Likewise, Coutinho against Newcastle didn't quite know his role in the side as he switched his time from playing on the left-hand side to central midfield to just behind Balotelli.

There is no clear format in Rodgers' tactics and it is frustrating to view. The Liverpool boss seems too clever for his own liking and is employing players with approaches that are deemed to fail.

Sam Allardyce made an excellent point calling Rodgers stubborn in his ways and not willing to change if things aren't going his way.

I have to agree with the West Ham United boss. It is Rodgers way or nothing.

Defensive errors

One area that Liverpool have seriously struggled is at the back. Last season they conceded 50 goals in the top flight and have been on the back of several errors last season. 

It is obvious that Rodgers prefers playing attacking football, and he is neglecting the defence. 

Liverpool have no defensive coach under employment are severely need one. However, the refusal of drafting one in has been rejected by the Northern Irishman and it is a decision that has baffled many. 

I don't know if Rodgers wants to be this martyr on Merseyside, who saves the Reds from trouble by doing everything on his own. If he does, it will be the cause of his downfall. 

To get in a experienced defensive coach in would shape the Liverpool defence first of all, then you could go from there.

Wrong team time and time again

In the 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United on Saturday, Rodgers again got his team wrong.

Joe Allen has done nothing since he moved from Swansea City to Anfield in 2012. He offers little going forward and defending, and is what I like to think as a nothing player. The decision to play him against the North East side was ridiculous, one that nobody agreed with and again had minimal impact on the game.

Adam Lallana has been very impressive since moving to Merseyside, but was left out for a third time in four games. Likewise, Emre Can has been done well when playing in the centre-of-midfield but was dropped to the bench.

If he is saving the pair for the Champions League trip against Real Madrid, Rodgers must be mislead to think Liverpool can get anything out of the game.

I'm a realist and Liverpool will likely get nothing but a good hiding again from the Spanish giants. We saw how easily they stream-rolled the Reds in the game at Anfield, with Madrid waltzing to a 3-0 victory, scoring all three inside the first-half and taking their foot off the gas in the second.

Liverpool's main priority has to be the Premier League. Three points against Newcastle was more important than three against Madrid for two reasons.

The first is that Rodgers' men have always been fighting for second place in Group B in the European competition from the day they were drawn in the same cluster as Real Madrid. It's looking like the ten time winners of the competition are going to win all six games. Hence, it is the games against FC Basel and Ludogorets Razgrad that make the real difference.

Secondly, if Liverpool want to be in the Champions League again last season, they have to qualify. Points in the Premier League is vital and Rodgers had to play his strongest side in Teeside.

The sooner Rodgers realises what his best team is and gets his priorities right, as well as not being too stubborn and holding his hands up when he is wrong. Then, Liverpool may improve.

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Topics:
Brendan Rodgers
Premier League
Mario Balotelli
Liverpool
Football

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