Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace has left Liverpool struggling in 12th place in the Premier League, in a position where they have almost given up on a title challenge before it has properly started.
They currently sit 18 points behind leaders Chelsea, having suffered six defeats in their first 12 league games, with no sign of standards improving at the Anfield club.
What a difference a season can make. Last year Brendan Rodgers and his Liverpool side could do nothing wrong as they swept aside teams with a swagger and quality not seen at Anfield since the glory days.
Rodgers gave Liverpool’s long suffering supporters a chance to dream of capturing the Premier League title until the final games, most noticeably against Chelsea, and Palace again, when they dropped the points which ultimately led to Manchester City pipping them to glory.
However, since then Liverpool have sold their controversial, yet superb, striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona whilst Daniel Sturridge, the other half of the deadly strike force, has suffered an injury plagued start to the new campaign.
Rodgers used the Suarez money to further strengthen his squad, but his use of the funds has been questioned in some quarters, as Liverpool have gone backwards in their style of football, their confidence and their all-round quality. Mario Balotelli’s signing has come under most fire but in truth he has been used as a scapegoat and is by no means the only problem at the club.
Last season it was Manchester United who were the butt of all jokes but now Liverpool have become the comedy side in the Premier League. Reds supporters would have genuinely felt that the tide was turning last campaign, as they finished above United and looked to be heading in the right direction, but now it is United who hold the upper hand at present.
This will be a huge learning curve for Rodgers, and perhaps the greatest challenge he has faced in his short managerial career. He may need to adapt his footballing philosophy in order to get back to winning ways because the players are seriously lacking confidence and are in need of victories, no matter how they are achieved.
However, Rodgers is still young and could have a great future in front of him, but he must not be stubborn as he tries to mastermind a Liverpool revival. Could the club look elsewhere for a manager? They could but I personally feel they will not as they are a club who are immensely loyal to their managers and prefer to give them time, which is a rare thing in modern football.
Giving Rodgers time
The plaudits Rodgers and his team received last year were justified, but it is abundantly clear to all that the Suarez/Sturridge partnership was hugely responsible for that success. Liverpool’s defending last season was questionable at best on occasions and that doesn’t seem to have been addressed this time around.
The tough period between now and January will be very important for Liverpool and their Northern Irish boss. The Premier League is a very unforgiving place at times, particularly when results are going against you, but the Reds need to find a way to counteract that as they bid to rescue their season.
How Southampton, currently sitting in second place in the table, must be looking on with a touch of glee as they watch the side, who they sold a number of their stars to, languish further down the league.