Here at The Center Circle, we always try to avoid rushed decisions. With Liverpool’s players that left over the summer and with all the new faces they brought into the squad, we were quick to write about giving them some time to grow and become a working eleven. However, a few very early, positive results that certainly flattered the Reds (given what we have seen now) and a league rife with point-dropping up to this point had allowed Liverpool to somehow exist without every single alarm going off within the club.
Now, every alarm bell is ringing…every player is on notice…and even the manager that has returned Liverpool to the Champions League is on the hot seat.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were SEVERELY underrated
The new Barcelona striker and the injured Englishman were never given their proper due. Somehow, two strikers that went on an unprecedented scoring rampage and lifted a club (despite enormous defensive frailties) to the upper echelon of the BPL…despite nearly every viewer praising their skill from the rooftops, the scariest proposition in the Premier League last season is being shown to have been 99%% of the reason for Liverpool’s success. While Sturridge’s injury can only be blamed on bad luck, Liverpool’s reaction buy of Mario Balotelli (for what we thought (at the time) was a steal) and others now looks like a club trying to plug a 10 foot hole with a band-aid. The further that Liverpool slip, the greater the combo of SAS will continue to look.
The defense has been broken for years, it has not been fixed, and it is now being exposed (again)
It might be difficult to pinpoint when the defense started to crumble *cough*loss of Hyppia*cough*, but this part of the pitch has been dismal for Liverpool for quite some time. Sakho still looks uncomfortable on the ball, Lovren plays like he weighs 120 pounds and is 5 foot 7 or so, Skrtel is always moments away from tearing opposing attacker’s shirts off (seriously, how is the guy not called for 5 penalties per game?), and Kolo Toure is…well…fading into the mist. While there is youth and some future hope on the wings (especially when Flanagan gets back to full fitness), there is no backbone at the back for Liverpool. Mignolet is one of the most hot/cold keepers in the league, and, while he is not totally to blame, had the opportunity stopped two of the Crystal Palace goals (the free-kick was unstoppable). Manchester United might be famously courting Hummels, but it is Liverpool that seem to be the most in need of defensive improvement.
There might be light at the end of the tunnel, but it does not feel like a return to last season’s exploits are anywhere within the plans of the next few years
While the current Tottenham team might not be the exact squad that you want to be compared to, they seem to be coming out of the post-Bale haze just a bit. Lamela still looks dreadful whenever he takes part in a BPL fixture, but the other pieces are starting to show their class. Eriksen is starting to flex his brilliance (as he showed against a 10-man Hull City) and Spurs seem to be overcoming their own striker issues with the ever-poor Soldado and ever-frustrating Adebayor. Despite terrible showings, there is proven talent in this Liverpool squad. While Rodgers may not survive, although falling on his sword in the post-match comments showed why he has been lauded over the past few seasons, there is enough talent in the squad (as-is) to be successful. While the time for excuses has long past, it is perfectly reasonable to believe Liverpool will remain one of the main forces in English football (it just remains to be seen when they will be one of the TOP forces again…).
It might not be time for a fire-sale, but it is certainly time to have your finger on the panic button. With possible Champions League removal on the horizon, perhaps the following months can help kick-start something for the Reds. If they get knocked out of the CL, then they can firmly place their focus at home. If they stay in, perhaps their CL success can carry over to their exploits at home. No matter what happens, the present is quite bleak at Anfield…let’s hope the future is a bit brighter.