Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reality Bites, Rodgers

Liverpool's shock defeat to Southampton over the weekend brought two things to the forefront:

1: The Liverpool of the 2013/14 season looks very similar to the one that finished seventh in 2012/13

2: This Liverpool team, like last season's, direly needs Luiz Suarez.

Despite investing in new players, Brendan Rodgers side never looked like winning the game against the Saints. Despite beginning the weekend at the top of the table, remaining there by Monday morning looked like a tall order. And despite the promising start the club has had this season, the match against Southampton brought Reds fans painful memories of last season's mediocracy.

True, Liverpool were without Philip Coutinho and the Brazilian's presence in attack was sorely missed.

There were other questionable tactical decisions such as fielding new signing Mamadou Sakho in the leftback position instead of Luiz Enrique who has excelled so far in that role this season. Perhaps Rodgers wanted to prove why he spent GBP19 million on the French defender.

No matter, Liverpool's total lack of inventiveness and sharpness in the final third was once again the deciding factor, as it has been for so many seasons. There may have been new faces on the pitch but the results remained the same.

Perhaps that's why Rodgers and the club fought tooth and nail to keep Suarez although it seems like a foolish decision should the Uruguayan succumb to a long-term injury or, as he is fond of doing, get himself any lengthy ban.

Daniel Sturridge has proven to be an adequate striker and finisher but by himself, he isn't capable of turning a poor performance into three points while Iago Aspas has to first find the back of the net - which is seeming to be quite a daunting task - before he can lay claim to being a worthy substitute for Suarez.

Worst of all, Liverpool's failure to sign a creative midfielder in the summer is proving to be a hefty mistake in light of Coutinho's absence which is expected to last until end-October.

There is certainly a possibility that Rodgers' team will return to its winning ways once Suarez returns and the defeat against Southampton was just a bad day. Or, this season could end up very much like it did last season. 

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