Okay, the start to the new season has hardly been ideal. But realistically, what did you expect?
Saturday’s defeat to West Ham was desperately disappointing, and extremely frustrating to see defensive lapses proving costly once again.
But having a look at social media after the game – never a good idea following a poor defeat – you would have thought we were Manchester United under David Moyes.
The majority of Liverpool fans remain intelligent, understanding and patient supporters – but for those who took to Twitter to slate Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard following the latest defeat should be ashamed.
Make no mistake, Liverpool dramatically over-achieved last season.
Brendan himself said he was a year ahead of schedule, and that the target this season was to achieve a top four finish and to win a trophy.
So let’s just consider the Premier League title is a write off this season, and whatever happens with regards to a challenge between now and May can now be considered a bonus.
We are two points behind Manchester City, three behind Arsenal, a point behind Tottenham, and a point ahead of Manchester United and Everton- considering Chelsea’s start I imagine these teams are going to be the ones to worry about with regards to achieving that top four finish.
If you consider the start we have had, losing three of our first five and to be a maximum of three points behind a major rival for top four – we’ve got pretty lucky.
We are not the only ones to have made a poor start to the season, with Everton, United and Tottenham all struggling and Manchester City and Arsenal also managing just two wins from their opening five.
The situation in the league is not nearly as bad as people appear to be making out. Chelsea have the squad to win it comfortably this season in my opinion, yet seven points is the gap between us and first place.
When you consider we went on a run of 11 straight wins towards the back end of last season, with so much football left to be played – anything is possible.
Yet still, Saturday’s defeat at Upton Park brought plenty of criticism – with Brendan Rodgers, Simon Mignolet and Steven Gerrard the main targets for supporters frustrations.
Brendan has come under fire for his business in the transfer market, playing the wrong system – even though a midfield diamond saw us win eight of the nine games we played in that formation last season – and not improving the defence.
It is too early to judge the summer signings to start. Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic are yet to even reach full fitness. Emre Can is injured, whilst Lovren, Manquillo and Moreno have slotted in to an entirely new back four, meaning there are bound to be defensive lapses.
I would question Rodgers with Liverpool’s ability to defend set pieces. Everyone could tell it was a problem last season, and after conceding the decisive goal of the game to Aston Villa from a corner, it was incredibly frustrating to see us lose another goal from a set piece after just 75 seconds at Upton Park.
The zonal marking system perhaps needs to be looked at by the boss, as it is something Liverpool have struggled with going back to the days of Rafael Benitez.
The defence is certainly an area that needs to be addressed, with nine goals conceded from our opening six in all competitions – of which you could say six have stemmed from individual errors. Mignolet’s poor positioning against Manchester City and Ludogorets, Moreno against Manchester City, Lovren losing his man from set pieces against Villa and West Ham, and Sakho’s misplaced header for the third goal at Upton Park.
Once those individual errors are stamped out, and the Reds get some key players back from injuries, I am confident things will improve in that department – simply because it can hardly get much worse than six goals from nine coming from individual mistakes can it?
Simon Mignolet seems to be a problem for many supporters at the moment, with the Belgian seemingly unable to communicate with and command his defence.
He is not inspiring confidence at the moment, but bare in mind three of the back four this season have been made up of summer signings. The only way this will improve is with time and hours on the training ground – and make no mistake Rodgers is aware of this.
And finally, Steven Gerrard has come under fire for some below par performances, which in my opinion are completely unjust.
I think as supporters we cannot underestimate the mental exhaustion our captain must be feeling from what happened on the back end of last season.
The major disappointments of missing out on the league title and the early exit of from the World Cup in the summer, would effect even the strongest sportsman.
For too long, Liverpool have considered Gerrard to be some sort of super hero. Now 34-years-of-age, and playing in a deep lying midfield position where he is being consistently man marked, and under pressure to bounce back from the two major disappointments of his career – what do we expect of him?
Getting on his back, calling for him to be dropped and slagging him off on social media is not constructive, in any way helpful, and is frankly embarrassing when you consider all he has done for the club.
Brendan has publicly backed him this week, and the supporters should too – as without a doubt Gerrard remains our best player, and his influence last season was testament to that.
Brendan has said from the start this season would prove tricky, with eight new players to integrate, a busier schedule, raised expectations and the loss of one of the best players in world football.
He also pointed out his teams historically improve as the season progresses – and we’ve only played six games in all competitions!
There is so much football left to be played, and some of the most exciting Liverpool campaigns in recent history have started poorly.
The successful Gerard Houllier seasons of 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 both started poorly – one ended with a cup treble and the other a second placed finish.
Rafael Benitez started the 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 poorly, the first ended with the Champions League trophy, the second with the FA Cup and new club records set defensively, and the other a second Champions League final in three years.
In all those seasons mentioned, nobody would have predicted the finishes we were going to have back in September.
There is plenty left to feel positive and excited about. Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen have been sorely missed and will return soon, and we get to witness young players the likes of Can, Moreno, Manquillo, Markovic, Lallana and Balotelli improve as the season goes on – which all of them will.
Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard are yet to reach the form we know he they are capable of, whilst Jordan Henderson will thrive with the added responsibility of being vice-captain.
Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel have the potential to be a decent centre back pairing given time and work on the training ground, whilst Mamadou Sakho needs to gain the confidence he had during the summer’s World Cup in order to stamp out those errors and panicked moments.
Meanwhile, we surely have the best young player in Europe at present, with Raheem Sterling seemingly getting better by the week.
And perhaps most importantly, we have a coach who has belief in his players and coaching philosophy, who almost achieved the unthinkable last season, and has been backed and praised by everyone from Steven Gerrard to John W.Henry.
Even Daniel Agger described Rodgers as ‘an incredibly talented manager’,when revealing disagreements with the boss are what forced him out of the club.
So everyone moaning on social media and coming out with stupid comments towards, Brendan, Stevie and the rest of the team – just calm down. We’ve got plenty of time and enough quality to come out of this okay. Brendan’s got this.
Spot on! Feels so good to read this after all the scathing criticism everywhere!
Great article,I have faith in the team building process and Brendan will bring us through, let’s be patient and rally like true Reds! YNWA – Adam.
This article looks like one telling us not o worry because Liverpool will finish the league among the top ten!!
I don’t think that’s what I was trying to say at all mate. Saying it’s early days, anything can happen, get behind the team, plenty of good players coming through and who will improve etc etc… Have a re-read maybe?
George you far too negative mate XD
Great one Luke .. agree 100% on that..
I think SUSO could be like a deco needs more games and porridge tho. Love his attitude to the cause last night..
Don’t read JAMIE KANWAR articles he full of s%$t..