Liverpool's season so far hasn't exactly been explosive, has it?
Any optimism accrued during the first two wins and draw with Arsenal was destroyed - at Anfield - by West Ham. No disrespect to the Hammers, but a 3-0 result involving Liverpool and West Ham United is assumed to be a Liverpool win. So, what next for Liverpool?
Manchester United at Old Trafford; with United having recorded the double over Liverpool last season. Then, Bordeaux away in the not-so-glamourous Europa League.
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Liverpool need big performances to settle the fans and the players and take some heat off of Brendan Rodgers. The boss has been taking a lot of stick and he really needs to catch a break. A win at United and that break will come – a convincing win will keep the wolves at bay for a little while.
For that to happen, the players will need to stand up and put in the performances which the fans expect/demand and their reputations promise. The defence especially needs a solid display and some team-bonding sessions wouldn’t hurt.
Possible line-up without Coutinho
The midfield needed a creative outlet even before Philippe Coutinho got himself suspended for the next Premier League match – he cannot handle that on his own; not week-in, week-out.
No fan can profess to have the answers; that much is up to Rodgers and his backroom staff. Danny Ings will be absolutely desperate for a start September 12 and maybe he could be the answer. Then Jordon Ibe or Roberto Firmino or both
Could Liverpool line-up like this – Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, Gomez, Milner, Henderson, Ibe, Firmino, Benteke, Ings…or should Lallana take Coutinho’s place behind Benteke?
Liverpool fans must be looking forward to simply getting United out of the way and after Bordeaux, there is a run of four home games to put the defeat against West Ham in the past.
Players need to pull their socks up and perform. A cutting edge and (that word again) creativity is desperately needed. If the defence can improve and the midfield players start producing like we know they can, then maybe the future isn’t so bad.
Time running out for Rodgers?
As much as Liverpool fans are no doubt looking forward to the big game, there will be nerves. Natural, of course, there are nerves with facing every top side but this one feels different somehow.
Fans will be hoping for a win, but expecting a draw. A defeat (as always) is unthinkable. The main problem with being a Liverpool fan is the endless optimism they have. Liverpool fans have been spoilt over the years – much more than most other clubs, but not as much as a few others.
Liverpool fans demand results and they have, for the most part, been patient. Is time running out for Rodgers? Supporters will, in their majority, want to give him time. He may not be proven yet, but he was a whisker away from a league title. The thing Liverpool fans have craved for many, many years.
Come January, Rodgers will want to be in a strong position in the league and at least one cup competition, otherwise he could well find himself having some very uncomfortable conversations with the owners.
Football, is after all, a results business.