Why it’s not all his fault at Liverpool

After the impressive second place finish in last season Premier League, the hopes and ambition from everyone at Liverpool for the 2014/2015 campaign were always going to be higher.

So far the club have failed to meet these expectations, with the Reds already losing four of their first 10 league games – including defeats to West Ham United, Aston Villa and Newcastle United.

In order to cope with the stresses and strains of the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League – which was missing from the Merseysiders calendar for the past five years – a plethora of signings were made during the summer window.

Based on the new recruits’ performances thus far, Brendan Rodgers should already be looking to the January transfer window for replacements. The three additions from high flying Southampton – Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana –  have not lived up to their combined £49m price tag, with the likes of Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno also failing to impress so far.

However, the one player that has come under more scrutiny than any other in squad is striker Mario Balotelli.

Yes, the controversial Italian has immensely disappointed this season, and has failed to get off the goalscoring mark in the Premier League for his new club. Yet you can’t blame an entire team’s failings on one man. This is an easy way out and Balotelli has been made a scapegoat.

There is so much media attention on the former Manchester City striker. Every movement he does is watched like an eagle from everyone across the world. One slip up, and questions get asked about what was Rodgers thinking of paying £16m for a player that is little more than a ‘penalty taker’.

Invariably, this intense focus on one man from the rest of the Liverpool squad, many of whom have been little short of appalling in their displays thus far.

Captain Steve Gerrard is one of them.

Gerrard may be a Liverpool legend but the midfielder has consistently been targeted by opposition managers as the weak-link in this Liverpool side. The captain’s performances are the main reason why last season’s runners-up last up are leaking goals.

The former England international veteran is showing his age, and it’s no surprise why the skipper was dropped for the 1-0 Champions League defeat against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. Liverpool would not be hesitating in giving Gerrard a new contract if they knew he still had something to offer.

Rodgers has said in the recent past that midfielder Joe Allen is Liverpool’s answer to Xavi. The former Swansea City chief could not be farther  from truth.

Allen’s lack of positivity on the ball is one of the reasons why the Reds have also struggled to score. Unlike Gerrard in his prime, spraying balls everywhere and causing havoc to the opposition, Allen’s simple style involves him playing short passes to the flanks or backwards, never looking to play the ball forward pass.

As well as Gerrard and Allen underperforming, the likes of Simon Mignolet, Glen Johnson, Martim Skrtel, Mahamadou Sakho and Lucas have also failed to convince.

Balotelli may be Liverpool’s badman but it’s his teammates who are the real Anfield villains this season.

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