Yet to set the world alight in the early stages of their league campaign, stuttering in the Champions League, Liverpool’s season so far its fair to say has been disappointing especially considering the highs of the previous campaign, nothing, however will have worried Liverpool fans as much as the frankly woeful 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid in Anfield.
It was the game Liverpool fans have been looking forward to since the draw took place, the type of tie they dreamed about for the past few years of Champions League exile, an Anfield occasion that would rival the very best, despite the stuttering form Liverpool expected a performance, Liverpool always turn it on in the big nights at Anfield right? Well based on Wednesday’s performance no, this Liverpool side is in trouble.
Many fans and pundits alike were not getting carried away before the match and were predicting a tight match with the most likely winners being Madrid but a draw well within the grasp of Brendan Rodgers’ side, the manner of the defeat was contrary to most predictions, a shambolic defensive performance saw the Merseysiders concede all three goals in the first half Ronaldo and co.
It would be unfair to take away from a good Real Madrid performance but nevertheless they were very much assisted in their win by some below par performances by many men in red. A lot of the criticism has been thrown at misfit Mario Balotelli, but he is only one of many problems that need urgent addressing.
Balotelli has been slated and justly for his poor performances so far this season, against Madrid it was no different, he continued to show a lack of movement up front while also completely ignoring any responsibilities of tracking back or pressurising high up the field, his substitution at half-time was no surprise but maybe put all the attention on him rather than on the whole teams poor outing.
Luckily you might say for Dejan Lovren, Balotelli has been under the most media scrutiny because it has taken away from the fact he has in no way justified his £20 million price tag, he was brought in to shore up the Liverpool defence that was so poor last season but based on Wednesday’s showing he has in no way shored things up and if anything he has added even more nervousness and uncertainty at the back.
Lovren is not alone with his poor form in the defensive side of things, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has been making the art of goalkeeping seem very, very difficult as of late, his inability to deal with crosses was shown up again against Madrid and the third goal was an example of some of the terrible decision making he shows all too often for a top class goalkeeper.
Some of the blame for the poor form of Liverpool must be accredited to manager Brendan Rodgers, some of his tactical decisions so far this season have been questionable while his inability to sort out his side at the back is very worrying. None of his summer signings have shone as of yet and the jury is out to whether last season was a flash in the pan for both him and his Liverpool side.
Rodgers’ stubbornness in his tactics have been a particular annoyance to many fans, his persistence with playing Balotelli up front on his own is not reaping rewards and he might be better off trying to play someone like Borini alongside Mario Balotelli, with Borini offering a high work rate leaving Balotelli to roam free and maybe begin to find his form.
The situation at Anfield is no crisis, they are still in touching distance of the top few teams in the Premier League and although it will not be a walk in the park, progression through to the next stage of the Champions League is still salvageable. Rodgers has a big job on his hands to get the team firing again but he’s going to have to if they have any ambitions of success this season.
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