It has been a tough start to life without Luis Suarez at Liverpool so far this season.
The Reds are currently 9th in the Premier League after 15 games with 21 points, and are struggling for consistency. They have won as many league games as they have lost but are only 6 points of a Champions League position. There is certainly plenty of time to turn things around.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has come under a heap of pressure, mainly from the media but also the fans too. Talk on social media about a potential ‘crisis’ seems a little premature, especially considering a win against Basel tonight puts them through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
Last season was a tremendous one for the club, exceeding quite a lot of people’s expectations. They missed out on the League title by just three points, which was perhaps down to the inexperience of the squad in coping with a title challenge.
It wasn’t just Luis Suarez that was an excellent performer; Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerard were just a few among the fantastic showings. But with the Uruguayan gone, the fans need to remember a season like this is unlikely again for the next couple of years.
They played way above themselves for the majority of last season but that is not to say they can’t achieve top four this time round. What also can’t be forgotten is the turnaround from the previous season where they finished 7th. Memories are notoriously short in football but it’s hard not to feel that the amount of stick Rodgers has received is unwarranted and more than a little bit fickle.
But what is obvious is the fact the club haven’t recovered from the loss of Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan hitman scored a mammoth 31 league goals last season which in itself is extremely difficult to replace. Add to that Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems, which have seen him miss most of the season so far, and you’ve taken away both of Liverpool’s leading scorers from last season. The pair managed over 50 Premier League goals together last time out, so the fans need to bear in mind the task Rodgers has on his hands.
It has been a struggle finding suitable replacements upfront.
Mario Balotelli hasn’t looked up to the mark, failing to score a league goal up until this point and only scoring twice in 14 across all competitions. Rickie Lambert has come under unnecessary criticism but everyone has to remember he wasn’t brought in to replace Suarez or anything like that.
Lambert was signed as a back-up striker and has done a good job in the limited starts he has been given. The former Saints forward has scored twice in only 8 starts, and although he cannot be relied upon to score every week, Lambert is a good striker who offers a different option for the manager.
The striking conundrum could all be solved once Sturridge returns in the New Year, providing he hits the ground running again. But with over £100 million spent on players over the summer, it has to be said that the majority of the new signings have been fairly disappointing. One thing to consider however, is most of these signings are still young and should be given time to impress.
A top four finish this season isn’t out of the question if Liverpool can start becoming more consistent and the Champions League journey could well continue beyond tonight.
It is hard to see much of a crisis at the moment, and the fans and media need to be a bit more patient with Brendan Rodgers. The Liverpool manager was the right man to lead the club forward last season, and a disappointed start this time around shouldn’t be enough to change this.