NOTHING is irredeemable yet. There is plenty to worry about – that goes without saying – but some of those concerns could be easily remedied with some subtle alterations.
It’s time for Brendan Rodgers to turn his ethos of building a team from front to back to the more traditional Liverpool way of building from back to front. Everything he has done so far as Liverpool manager has more or less been designed to be inside out. It was a refreshing concept last season that sat well within its 2013/14 surroundings, but it’s proving unsustainable without its two most potent ingredients from last season, and we’re not talking about Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge here.
Momentum and confidence are infinitely more damaging absences so far this season, and while it’s fair to say Suarez and Sturridge contributed massively towards our quotas of momentum and confidence last season, it doesn’t mean they are commodities solely embedded within those two players. We haven’t been anywhere near as clever as we could have been mentally, in the transfer market, or in dealing with the cards we started this season with.
Back to basics is where we need to go. Do the basics and do them well, adhere to the laws of common-sense. Simplicity has therapeutic properties that lead to footballing gravity being found. A Liverpool FC on the straight and narrow will finish at least half a dozen places higher than our current 12th position.
Footballing fortunes and misfortunes can be fleeting. What looks beautiful one minute can wither away to a dried out husk very, very quickly. Conversely, what appears to be footballing offal can be transformed to Michelin-starred fayre just as swiftly. Newcastle United could have sacked Alan Pardew only a few short weeks ago. Given the cost of sacking a manager and his backroom staff, hiring a new one and offering the incentive of a decent amount of transfer funds in January, the Newcastle board shied away from the projected expenditure. They now enjoy the warm glow that managerial stability can offer a football club, albeit by anything other than nerve-holding design. Newcastle got lucky on this count.
In an era of rolling sports news television channels, with reporters and cameramen posted outside football grounds and training complexes on a daily basis, dedicated sports radio stations, endless phone-ins, ever-increasing sensationalised and desperate print newspaper headlines, social media outlets where everyone is an expert, the great unwashed like me that are given the platform to air our opinions over and over again and the growing weapon of fan power through anger and protest, there is no room for error anymore. I occasionally frequent a forum known as ‘The Rattle’ that almost becomes the killing fields after adverse Liverpool results. My other half usually enquires “has The Rattle gone boom?” on days like Sunday. Invariably it has indeed ‘gone boom’.
I’ve said it before but this football club, both internally and externally is an unforgiving beast when it comes to a near miss in a title race. Players visibly shatter, mentally and physically, managers soon lose the plot under the unremitting microscope and the supporters come down on lapses in quality like an unstoppable avalanche. We attain momentum once more, but a different sort of momentum that ultimately sweeps the manager out of the club, a negative momentum that I see rising once again, just as it did with Roy Evans, just as it did with Gerard Houllier, just as it did with Rafa Benitez and just as it appears to be doing with Brendan Rodgers.
The bigger picture becomes blurred and the here and now ends up being all that matters. We’ve been in difficult positions many times, even in our heyday when the clouds always eventually blew over to reveal a silver-lining. Bill Shankly went seven years without a major trophy. Under Bob Paisley we sat 12th on Boxing Day 1981, but we were champions by May 15th 1982. Now I’m not saying we’ll be champions this coming May, but I am saying we’ll be sat in a much more comfortable position. For that to happen stability is key. Not just amongst the supporters, but with the manager, his coaching staff and the players under their charge too.
Back to basics is where we need to go. Do the basics and do them well once again. Return the artistry and aesthetic nuances at a later date. Abide by common-sense and opposing sides will have to earn goals and points, instead of being able to sit off us and wait for the mistakes to take place. Under Brendan Rodgers we’ve always seemed susceptible to being pick-pocketed, but we’ve assisted our assailants by often handing over the keys to our door and pointing the way.
If we are struggling in defence and midfield then change the formation to one that increases the number of red shirts in our most vulnerable positions of the pitch when we don’t have possession of the ball. We lack the attacking verve of a few months ago? Well maybe build a more solid base and spring forth from deeper, and perhaps stop playing pretty triangles in our back third quite so often. Mario Balotelli isn’t suited to playing the lone role up front? Then stop deploying him as so. Assess what isn’t working, and then maybe stop doing those things.
Time to get boring perhaps, Houllier-esque even, with conservative solidity in our own half, and pace based sorties going forward, at least until the basics are mastered once more. 2013/14 Liverpool could offset the questionable goalkeeping and defending with an almost ninja-like brigade of skilled footballing lemmings, which swept forward as if answering the call of Mother Nature herself. 2014/15 Liverpool are more Sloth-like going forward and can’t recreate that. All is far from lost, yet something on the pitch undeniably has to give and balance must be found. Brendan Rodgers is the man who can control that. We’ve got to let him do it and for his part of the bargain he’s got to succeed.
Pics: David Rawcliffe
A well reasoned, level-headed post. So expect it to be eviscerated by the baying mob.
Too bloody logical that.
What we really need is a revolutionary formation that no-one has seen before.
What we really need is Luis Suarez.
What we really need is Studge fit again.
Back to basics….fuck that!
Great article. The mob will always praise shanks without having even the intelligence of a dim bulb to understand shanks was given time thro trophy less years second div seasons to build his legacy same as fergie. The mob seems to think liverpools glory years just happened and kept on happening when every shred of evidence points otherwise. Talks to all the greats Kenny rush etc a word called stability will be used often . Luckily we have yanks who understand that. Br will be given time and I’m so happy beco it will teach he Internet mob the meaning of patience and deceny and being a true lfc fan.
Well said mate. They want the manager knifed after 12 matches and next game will sing YNWA without an ounce of self-reflection.
I’m very happy to read this post and also comments by brownie and andrew. THIS is what a true fan is like. OTherwise why is LFC better than chelski fans or manu fans or any other fans? what they did to moyes was disgusting and im amazed fergie didnt step in as he himself needed so much help when he started and even king kenny once spoke for fergie to be given time at a managers meeting. so please my fellow reds lets not degenerate into that type of fanbase. That is not what made LFC great. I’ve supported lfc fr around 30 years, in sri lanka and dubai and now new york where i reside. Let me tell you FSG are good for liverpool. They know how to play poker and they wont lose their nerve unlike shilkhs and oilgarchs haha. They are strong owners and if they are backing bren its because they see some fighting qualities in him too. I’ve read EVERYWHERE fsg dont know anything about football/soccer, maybe, but they know people, how to read men. So stay calm and we will prosper. Panic and we will repeat the same mistakes as the past 20 years.
There’s no such thing as a true fan, or plastic fan, mate. Don’t go down that road. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion.
It does seem to me that a lot of posters have been waiting for Brendan to fail, for reasons I can’t fathom – he isn’t responsible for Hicks and Gillette, Rafa’s demise or Kenny’s demise – but that doesn’t mean they’ve no right to voice their concerns. We’re all feeling the pain right now.
Alot of fans have had in for brendon and fsg since day one. why is that? where are all these haters from? are they english fans who resent americans? are they foreign fans who hate americans? Are they scousers who resent they have no home grown millionaires? Alt of these “fans” sound to me like the SNP did. They claim to have the best interests of everyone at heart but in reality they are like snakes, playing games, trying to fool everyone. They appear to be a naive, rose-tinted, anything goes, cruel mob-mentality crass new generation who have forgotten the past, and those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
“There’s no such thing as a true fan, or plastic fan, mate.”
Like fuck there isn’t. Not accusing you of this Paul, but there are plenty of ‘fans’ out there – some commenting on this site – who are much more interested in being proved right than they are in the fortunes of LFC.
And what is more, an opinion as to whether Rodgers should pick this or that player is fine and we can all have a perfectly amicable debate about the pros and cons, but this “Rodgers is a coward”, “imbecile” shit is and the “Gerrard wields too much power” stuff is just bile (not to say pure invention they’ve just pulled out of their arses). See a certain commenter who today has written that any fan who doesn’t see things his way is either too “thick” or “bollockless”.
If this is acceptable “opinion”, then I have one of my own to offer. What a bunch of cunts.
I disagree with a lot of posters here, doesn’t make their views invalid, entitled perhaps, wrong-headed even, but not invalid. Calling them a bunch (I prefer shower) of cunts doesn’t help, or does comparing them to the SNP, a frankly bizarre comparison, as any Scouser worth his salt surely supported Scottish independence didn’t they? I know I did.
Seems sensible enough to me, if only he’d do it.
I was happy with the Hull lineup, strategy and hell, even the result. Looked like he was doing just as Steven suggests. But he’s gone backwards since then, reverted to type, sadly. I’m very disappointed with Rodgers at the moment, because he’s failing to respond to our very obvious shortcomings, which is a shame, because I want him to do well.
Excellent Steven. A very important perspective at a time when the group think is to further destabilize this club further.
Excuse my repetition.
The repetition I can forgive, but your name? :-)
Great points…..now tell this to Brendon and make him understand.
The problem is the fans can’t put these things in place on the pitch; the manager can. But the main issue at the moment is that while things are still salvageable the manager isn’t doing any of these things or even looking like he will. He is making the same mistakes over and over again, and as a fan who can’t do anything on the pitch, it is bound to lead to frustrations.
I am in no doubt that Brendan thinks he is doing the right thing and no doubt he knows infinitely more about football management than we do but he has never had to be with Liverpool in the Champions League and other competitions. We have. We have seen what needs to be done in these competitions. And we have seen lesser Liverpool teams go much further and play much better than the current one.
The big question is how long will Brendan persist with the current format and players that are massively underperforming for whatever reason? Until there is at least some desire to make things better, the fans will always be frustated.
Resorting to insulting the manager says more about the poster than the manager likewise people who , it seems, believe that they have all the answers and anyone disagreeing is a cunt. I think a lot of fans would agree with this article but the question is whether BR sees it like this because if he doesn’t I would suggest we are in for a lot more pain delivered by teams we believe should be dispatched with ease. Tomorrow night is a biggie.
Amen to that.
Article without any substance. What are these ‘back to basics’ strategies? Recall Lucas? Revert to a diamond as per last season with 2 up top? Fairly weak article in that sense to be fair.
Good post again Steven it has managed to sway me back to the lets give BR some more time to turn things around club. It has made me think what does make us different to other fans as well, one things for sure we can moan with the best of them but the Manager of LFC is held in pretty high regard.
With such a lofty position comes responsibility, the responsibility to win more than your fair share of football matches. The “suit” is weighing very heavy on BR at the minute he is making far more errors of judgement than he has done to date. His body language is Torresesque, does he really want to pull us out of this slump, maybe more importantly can he pull us out of this slump?
The next few games are crucial me thinks, otherwise he won’t be allowed the opportunity to turn it around that will be taken from him. For now though, I will bite my tongue, sing my head off and hope that golden sky comes into view.
For months my opinion was give Rodgers time. Time to change. For months I said Rodgers needed to change things or we’d be in trouble. He didn’t and we’re in trouble.
Now my opinion is he won’t change. So we give him to May (on the assumption this relegation form won’t last) as no top class manager will move clubs half way through a season and it will give him more rope to hang himself. Then come May we sack him.
We replace him with a manager who has overcome odds for more than one season, a manager who knows how to qualify for the champions league and knows what to do when he gets there. I don’t mind if the manager beat Barca and Madrid to La Liga with Valencia or Atletico Madrid, or beat Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title twice. All three managers have a habit of reaching champions league finals as well. And they’ve all won the odd trophy here and there too.
But my point under this article is, were do you draw the line? Why bother giving the manager more time if results, performances, team selections and tactics have been appalling and he is continuing to make the same mistakes that have led to results, performances, team selections and tactics being appalling? If Rodgers is doing the same things over and over, which we know he is as the evidence is there – why would anyone expect things to change? Madness.
He’s had several international breaks and several massive blows to allow him to change things. He’s had 18 fucking games to see how pathetic Lovren is. He’s had plenty of hours to see Balotelli doesn’t work as a single striker. And he’s refused to alter his plans.
So why should he be given more time if he’s going to offer up more of the same?
Unless of course “more time” means May and not beyond.
As a true LFC fan I am just ‘enjoying’ this ‘shitty’ feeling and I am prepared to see LFC visit the championship next season if there is no change in leadership immediately.
Lots of interesting comments around giving time and I have tended to agree. Until recently!
As mentioned the overwhelming problem is that a change in system and/or personnel is NOT happening.
What do we need? I propose a much stronger midfield in terms of an effective DM together with a couple of wide players with the capacity and desire to get back and protect the back four. A bit like Kurt used to?
What about Enrique AND Moreno on the left side and maybe Hendo on the right? Lucas is a far better DM than Stevie sadly, so either push SG further up or drop him.
Give Borini a chance to chase down from the front WITH Balotelli.
All of that type of change would be designed to strengthen defensively without messing with the back four and we could still play with a loose no 10.
Unfortunately I can not see Brendon changing quickly enough to turn our season before Christmas but I live in hope!!!
Kuyt – spellchecker/corrector gone daft!
What ever happened to Pepe Reina?
What ever happened to Daniel Agger?
What ever happened to Steven Gerrard?
No more heroes anymore!
Some people here should be ashamed of themselves!
Just imagine for a moment that you are a Store Manager in Tescos or Sainsburys.The General Manager calls you in.He says “We’ve had a nightmare of a day.What happened to the check-outs?What happened to the shelves?There was no soup,sugar or cornflakes on them.And on top of all that people were complaining that they’d been phoning up all day and the phones kept going to ansafone.”
And you say “Well the Delivery driver had a day off so I had to put the check-out operator on deliveries.Then I asked the shelf-stacker to help out on the check-out but then I realised that the shelves were a bit sparse so I told the Telephonist to stack some shelves but she just put some extra tins of corned beef on them.”
Think you’d get away with that?