Liverpool: Reasons not to panic
After only securing two points through the first five league games - their worst start since 1911 - the season already seems a disaster for Liverpool. But here are the reasons it is not all doom and gloom on Merseyside.
The latest disappointing result in Liverpool’s young season was the heart-breaking loss at home to rivals Manchester United.
The day started brightly with both prestigious clubs paying tributes the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and it seemed to galvanize the home team. With The Kop bellowing, Liverpool came out flying. Dominating possession and creating chances in the first half.Then came the turning point, a 50-50 ball which saw Jonjo Shelvey and Johnny Evans go for it. Both players went in recklessly with studs up, both at fault, and Shelvey received a red card; which was the correct decision. Evans escaped unpunished. Tough luck, but it accurately represents the luck Liverpool have had so far … none.
It should be mentioned that the abuse aimed at referee Mark Halsey after the match from supporters is completely appalling and deplorable.The players were able to overcome the decision and although down to 10 men for more than 50 minutes still had the verve to go forward and attack. Looking the better team, even down a man, Liverpool didn’t get the breaks, and eventually left pointless.
In the end, all Liverpool can take away from the game is the comfort that they were the better team.Looking to the horizon, there are still plenty of reasons to think that this season will be positive for Liverpool.
The Fixture list
After a difficult opening of West Brom, Manchester City, Arsenal, Sunderland and Manchester United, the calendar starts to look easier.
Liverpool play Norwich this Saturday followed by home games against Stoke and Reading before the first Merseyside derby of the season. Rodgers will surely be telling the squad that 10 points is reasonable from those matches.
The squad is starting to adapt to Rodgers' style of play, often dominating possession and creating plenty of chances. Rodgers recently commented on the progress of his team, “When we played Gomel away [in the Europa League] we could hardly string five passes together so we are making strides forward and very soon the performance level will turn to results and then we can kick on.”Effort
Towards the end of last season, Liverpool produced some terrible performances and most of it was down to a lack of effort. It is encouraging to see that Rodgers has lit a fire in the locker room. With no-one being assured a place in the team sheet; including the flop signings.
Rodgers has the team pressing and harassing opponents constantly. It seems every player is eager to play for the manager.Luck
Liverpool has had absolutely no luck thus far in the season. Able to strike the posts and crossbar with regularity. And if things like that really do even out, they're going to have an extraordinarily fortunate run-in. Concerning luck, Rodgers said: “Very soon our luck will change and we will do what it takes to win games and then when we do that I believe we will fly.”
And if the woodwork continues to be a problem, maybe a few extra finishing drills wouldn’t hurt.Injuries
There were a few scares suffered during the Manchester United game concerning injuries. None of Agger, Kelly or Borini were able to finish the match. But, Agger and Borini received some good news, and will be able to return in about a month.
The Agger injury news the most relieving, because the more time Jamie Carragher and his Continental Drift-like sprint speed stays off the pitch, the better.
Kelly will miss out on the rest of the season though, but considering he is the club’s second choice right back it isn’t too damaging of a loss.
The emergence of several youth players in the squad this season has been fantastic. Raheem Sterling is a rock star. Suso looked brilliant during the U-19 World Cup and has continued that form. Shelvey looks a future midfield general and Andre Wisdom has received praise from Rodgers who is tipping him for big things. Even Samid Yesil looks promising with his incredible scoring rate throughout the Germany youth ranks.
So while Liverpool are off to their worst start in more than a century, don’t count on that continuing. An easier fixture list, the squad adapting to Rodgers’ playing style, a little hard work, better finishing, and continued effort of youth players will see this become a positive season for Liverpool.
Calling all Liverpool fans: Do you agree with Dave's confidence? Are you optimistic of the future under Brendan Rodgers or do you think this is going to be a long, hard season for the Reds? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.