Date: 10th November 2014 at 2:54pm
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After a week in which we lost three games by a single goal Brendan is coming under fire like never before.

While we all took heart from the spirited effort in the Bernabeu the loss at home to Chelsea was frustrating and the less said about the tame surrender at St James Park the better.

Few sane fans would suggest that Brendan should be removed after the good work that has been done in the last two years but there is no doubt that questions need to be asked.

Right now Brendan seems to be trying to fit round pegs into square holes.

The best teams play to their strengths while we are trying to use the same style as last season without attackers capable of pulling it off.

Balotelli is being asked to play as a lone striker even though he never uses the ball intelligently and simply doesn’t work hard enough to play up front alone.

And even though Sterling, Lallana, Coutinho and Markovic all look more comfortable in the middle Brendan insists on using wingers.

It begs the question, what happened to our nice, shiny diamond?

With our abundance of central midfielders and Moreno and Manquillo’s willingness to get up and down the flank you would think that the diamond would be our best formation but it’s hardly been used.

Perhaps the more pressing question that needs to be asked is why are we not using players who are in good form?

As a collective we’ve been poor for months but there have been individuals who have played well.

Against Real Madrid Brendan selected a team that could either be described as extremely pragmatic or downright disrespectful.

With the ‘first choice’ team struggling badly it made sense to rotate the team and give some of the squad players a chance to prove their worth.

But even though a number of squad players impressed Brendan picked almost the exact same side that had been so poor against Newcastle.

Brendan had clearly given up on the Madrid game before a ball had been kicked, rather than giving squad players a chance to stake a claim he was resting players with the weekend in mind.

Forget being disrespectful to the Champions League, that’s disrespectful to the fans.

We’ve waited five years to get back into Europe’s top club competition specifically to play against the likes of Los Blancos so for Brendan to surrender leaves a bitter taste.

On Tuesday the so called second string showed more stomach for the fight than we’ve seen all season so why were they ignored on Saturday?

Fabio Borini, Adam Lallana, Javier Manquillo and especially Kolo Touré all did more than enough in midweek to warrant a place in the team but of those four Borini came on for 20 minutes while the other three didn’t feature.

Glen Johnson, once the best right back in the league, is now a shadow of his former self, he offers very little going forward and his defending is worse than ever.

Coutinho was poor for Chelsea’s winner but surely Johnson should have spotted the danger and covered, instead he just jogged back allowing Azpilicueta to cross.

Yet still the England man gets in the team ahead of Manquillo who, while far from the finished article, looks much more hungry to do well when he has played.

Meanwhile up front Balotelli constantly strays offside and surrenders possession cheaply, in short, he simply can’t play as a lone striker.

His compatriot Borini is certainly lacking in technical ability but he runs all day and is good at bringing others into the game.

He is our only available striker willing and able to make runs to put the defence under pressure so he should be starting regularly.

In central midfield we have a lot of options and Brendan’s decision to start the powerful Emre Can paid dividends inside the first 10 minutes so starting Lallana on the bench was fair enough.

But why did we finish the game with Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson? They’re both solid central midfielders, surely we needed someone with a bit more creativity like Lallana as we tried to grab an equaliser.

Instead the final 15 minutes were pathetic as we had plenty of possession but wasted it by constantly trying hopeful crosses when Chelsea had man mountains like John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic to clear the danger.

Mourinho must have been laughing all the way back to Stamford Bridge at his former protégé’s attempts to outwit him.

The biggest concern remains in central defence, even if we had managed an equaliser such is our fragility at the back I would’ve expected Chelsea to score a winner.

When Dejan Lovren arrived in the summer we were told that we had snapped up a real defensive leader.

I wouldn’t follow the Croatian out of a burning building after the nervy displays we’ve seen so far so I doubt he’s inspiring confidence in the rest of the defence.

Meanwhile we have Touré, a man with a wealth of experience yet to feature in the league.

During Brendan’s first season in charge he was forced to swallow his pride and bring back Jamie Carragher after dropping him now it’s time to do the same with Kolo.

Touré’s career with the Reds has lurched from the farcical to the supreme with great performances mixed with bizarre own goals and assists for opposition forwards.

While he may not be the most solid centre half around he is, to my mind, a much better bet than either Lovren or Skrtel at the minute.

We started last season with a run of three 1-0 wins with Touré leading the defence and after the international break we’d love a similar run so it’s time for the Ivorian to return.

After yesterday’s defeat Brendan said: “As you would expect confidence is a bit low”.

While I think it’s absurd that professional footballers can lose confidence if that’s the case then Brendan needs to use the depth of his squad and give the players who are performing a chance.

Our next four league games are against Palace, Stoke, Leicester and Sunderland, all games we’d expect to win and despite the utter dross we’ve been forced to endure we’re only four points away from Champions League qualification.

It may not feel like it but the season really is only 11 games old, we’ve still got plenty of time to turn this around but only if Brendan picks the lads who are playing well.