Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has pulled no punches in his assessment of Liverpool's start to the season, insisting that Brendan Rodgers has failed to build on the momentum of last season and now looks more stressed than any other time in his managerial career.
Liverpool are under fire after an underwhelming opening that has seen them suffer six defeats in just 12 Premier League games, the same number of times the Reds lost in the whole of last season.
Scholes has found his voice since retiring and was scathing of Liverpool's efforts to improve through a spate of summer spending, with under-fire defender Dejan Lovren in particular coming in for some stinging criticism.
Scholes thinks last season was a freak
In his weekly column for the Independent the ex-England midfield maestro addressed Liverpool's difficulties in the first three months of the season, which meant that despite taking a shine to Rodgers the Reds boss had plenty to answer for.
Scholes wrote: "I rate Rodgers as a manager. I liked how his Swansea team played and I think he comes across well in his press conferences. At the moment he looks more stressed out than at any point since he took the job.
Is Lovren up to the task or lofty pricetag?
"The expectation at Liverpool got out of control last season and now, when the belief from the fans has been that they should take the next step, the team have been unable to do it.
"I go back to the signings once again. They weren’t good enough. A manager lives and dies by the players he brings in, especially when someone as big as Luis Suarez leaves.
"For instance, the £20m price for Dejan Lovren means that instead of looking like a smart call on a player with potential, he becomes a £20m defender with all the pressure that brings."
£100million spend under huge scrutiny
Rodgers attempted to repair the damage of losing Suarez by spending the best part of £100m on nine summer signings, but in truth his record in the transfer market looks patchy at best on the evidence of the first three months of the season.
Scholes and the vast majority of analysts expected far more from both Rodgers and the Reds, but the good news for fans on Merseyside is there's plenty of time to turn things round at this stage of the season.
Stoke City, Leicester City and Sunderland definitely represent three winnable fixtures over the next fortnight, before a Champions League showdown with Basle that could yet see the Reds book a place in the knockout stages and keep Scholes quiet for a few weeks at least.
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