5 Reasons Liverpool Are Struggling So Badly
Following their swashbuckling title challenge last season, Liverpool now lie 14th in the Premier League table and slumped to a defeat to Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Here are five possible reasons for their current malaise:
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Many Liverpool fans assured critics that the team could survive without their Uruguayan striker, having performed admirably without him during his suspension at the start of last season.
However, his departure – allied to Daniel Sturridge’s injury – has left them desperately short of goals. And they don’t just miss his goals – Suarez was second in the league’s assists chart last year.
Goalkeeper & Defence:
Simon Mignolet’s form so far this season has left Brendan Rodgers’ decision to exile Pepe Reina – first on loan to Napoli and now permanently to Bayern Munich – even more bewildering. Mignolet conceded more league goals last season than the likes of Crystal Palace, but his team-mates made up for it with over 100 goals. It’s no surprise that Liverpool have been heavily linked with former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes, who’s currently recovering from an injury.
Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren could turn out to be the leader they need at the back but hasn’t justified these hopes as yet, despite a promising start. Their other defensive reinforcements – Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquilo – started well but have shown in recent matches that they may need time to get to grips with English football.
Rodgers stated at the start of the transfer window that he’d prefer one or two big signings rather than bringing several players in. However, the club had difficulty attracting established stars with the likes of Alexis Sanchez choosing Arsenal over Anfield.
While it’s still early days, the likes of Lazor Markovic, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana have yet to prove they are an improvement on what the team already possessed. Others, likes Emre Can and Rickie Lambert, have yet to see much first-team action.
Rodgers’ decision to allow Divock Origi, who’d offer options in attack, to stay on loan with Lille where he’s already netted three goals, already looks ill-advised.
There’s no disputing that the injury Sturridge picked up on England duty has had a detrimental effect on Liverpool’s early-season form. They’ve scored just two goals in three league games without him.
While he might not be a fashionable name, Joe Allen has also been missed in midfield. Can’s start at the club has also been hampered by injury and the absence of the likes of Jon Flanagan and the much-maligned Glenn Johnson have highlighted the lack of depth in the squad.
Liverpool’s team spirit seemed to propel them to victory in many games last season but indiscipline seems to be slowly seeping into a previously united squad.
Mamadou Sakho’s show of petulance after being left out of the squad for last weekend’s derby and Mario Balotelli’s refusal to acknowledge fans after the defeat to Basel would not have been countenanced last term.
Lovren has also displayed his frustration at communication issues with the club’s two new Spanish full-backs, while even Lambert has hinted at problems with his training schedule.