Last night Liverpool were knocked out of the Champions League after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Swiss side Basel. This performance emulated their fairly dismal form in the Premier League which sees them sat in 9th with just six wins in the fifteen games so far played.
Their form this season is in stark contrast with their performance last season, finishing second in the league and very nearly won their first Premier League title. It seems as the reason for their success last season was however one Luis Suarez. Being one of the best players in the world, he almost single-handedly guided Liverpool to their first top four finish in five years and brought them inches for Premier League glory. But after his infamous bite to Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup, Liverpool seemed as if they couldn’t afford to have such volatile player in their ranks any longer, no matter how good he is.
Liverpool then sold the Uruguayan to Spanish giants Barcelona for a substantial £75 million – nearly £50 million more than Liverpool paid for him. Liverpool and manager Brendan Rodgers then had a large sum of money to explore the market, strengthen their squad and perhaps take that one step further than last season and win the Premier League title.
Alas, it wasn’t to be as Liverpool went on a mad spending spree, bringing in Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren from Southampton with a combined fee of £49 million. Further purchases include Spanish defender Alberto Moreno, Serbian midfielder Lazar Markovic and Italian midfielder Mario Balotelli among others. Ultimately, almost all of the signings have become unsuccessful with only Adam Lallana making any noticeable difference in a handful of their games.
Despite making the big spend for all these players to bolster their squad there has rarely been an occasion where Rodgers has used them to full effect, leaving some players on the bench when they could thrive for the club. This couldn’t be truer than last night when Adam Lallana was an unused sub in a match where he would be able to thrive and prove his worth on the European stage and help the Reds make the knockout stages.
Brendan Rodgers then has made some monumental managerial errors on occasion and has unfortunately had only two players that more often than not are the saviours. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has come off the bench in the past few league matches to really make a difference and help his side get something out of the game. Furthermore, just like the infamous night against Olympiakos ten years ago which put Liverpool onto their path to Champions League glory, he scored a sublime free kick mid way through the second half which gave the reds hope. However, Gerrard won’t be playing forever and there will come a day where he won’t be able to play for the club he has played his entire career so Liverpool will need to find another face to look to.
In recent times, that face may well be Raheem Sterling. Sterling has been on fine form since last season, and this season he has been one of Rodgers’ main players, most notably playing every minute in Liverpool’s dramatic League Cup victory earlier in the season against Middlesbrough which the reds won on penalties. However, it seems the youngster is growing tired of having to be the stand out player and his performances have not gone unnoticed with Spanish giants Real Madrid rumoured to be linked with the England star. Contract negotiations are currently going on between Liverpool and Sterling with the club and especially the fans hoping he puts pen to paper and stays at their beloved club.
Liverpool will now be focusing on their Premier League match this weekend when they face long time rivals and in form side Manchester United. If there is a time to turn your season round this would be it and Rodgers will be keeping his fingers crossed for his players to perform and hopefully make that first step to turning their season around and make it to that coveted fourth spot.