There has been a lot of talk recently about identity where Liverpool are concerned. Where has it gone? And who's to blame?
The Reds have struggled to find their feet in the new Premier League season even despite a mass overhaul of players from Brendan Rodgers.
Seven points from a possible 15 represents a poor start for a side of Liverpool's calibre - not as bad as Chelsea's four, albeit - with a droll performance in their Europa League opener against Bordeaux on Thursday further condemning Rodgers' side.
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There are two parties potentially at fault - the manager, and the players - but who should the blame be pinned on?
There was a large expectancy that Rodgers' arrival would spell a change in fortune for Liverpool, who had just parted ways with Roy Hodgson following a difficult tenure.
The Northern Irishman arrived with a clear idea - a style of play; an identity - to help restore the Liverpool name.
There was a transitional stage, of course, in his first season with players coming to terms with the fluid style of play that he had implemented at Swansea City. For all the frustrations, though, you could see the potential of a new team forming.
The second season was beyond most Reds' wildest dreams. Spearheaded by the deadly SSS trio of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, and supplied by the creativity of Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool mustered their strongest title run in years, with there a genuine belief that it was to be their year.
However, a late slip up against Chelsea and Crystal Palace meant for Rodgers' side settling for second place behind Manchester City, though the season proved positive regardless.
A summer of big change at Anfield brought everyone back down to earth, with hitman Luis Suarez departing for Barcelona. It was like being back to square one, but they at least had the Champions League to look forward to.
Rodgers failed to bring in adequate replacements for his departed stars, though, spending big on players failing to justify their valuations, with the Reds ultimately finishing the season empty-handed and just a Europa League place to boast.
This season started with similar promise, even despite Raheem Sterling's departure to City, but five games down the line and it appears the same old story. Rodgers spent big in the summer, but his signings have failed to impress, which has once again led fans to question his role at the club. Whether he can turn it around remains to be seen.
There have been plenty of new faces arrive at Anfield over the last two summer transfer windows with the majority of them failing to perform to the required standards expected. Some may say players moving to new a country need time to adapt, but these are professional football players paid to play - they should be able to step up.
Liverpool seemed largely unable last season to recapture the style of play from the previous campaign that saw them brush aside every opponent who dared face them, emphasised by their capitulation against Aston Villa in an FA Cup semi-final, and worsened by woeful 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace and the infamous 6-1 shaming against Stoke on the final day.
The players looked devoid of confidence against the Potters and with no idea what was meant to be their style of play. Too many didn’t seem to want it enough. It was as bad a Liverpool performance as many had witnessed.
The constant change of formation throughout the season wouldn't have helped, of course, with players being played in unnatural positions - square pegs to fill round holes. There was a clear lack of direction.
This, therefore, brings us back to the manager, who is ultimately responsible for how the team play, how they are set up and to make sure everyone knows their roles.
As previously mentioned, Rodgers came to Anfield with a clear idea of the identity that he wanted to install in Liverpool - there is no sign of this. His principles have wavered in search of results which, in the long-run, is unproductive, and if even he is unable to implement an identity, then who will? Rodgers might not have enough time to provide an answer to that.
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