If there’s anyone to blame, blame me as manager. Ultimately it is down to the manager.
OK Brendan, if you say so. Liverpool face Norwich tonight at home and after the weekend’s performance, three points against the Canaries is not a certainty. Rodgers, the David Brent of the Premier League, loves to talk about technicians, keeping the ball, defending with the ball and fluidity in our play. I saw none of these qualities against Hull. Now, before I go on, credit must be given to Hull. Yes, Liverpool were bad but Hull were good, very good. They stretched Liverpool and put them under a lot of pressure. Yes, two goals took a deflection but Liverpool never worried the Tigers (am I allowed to call them that?).
After the defeat to Hull, Rodgers sounded out that his squad isn’t strong enough. He highlighted that without Sturridge (who is publicly criticised the week before) and Coutinho, his team will struggle. This isn’t the first time this season he has said this. After the defeat to Arsenal he said the same. Brendan Rodgers is really starting to frustrate me. Must I remind Mr Rodgers that he is the one who spent £50 million on players to improve the squad? “Brave” players as he says who are not afraid and get on the ball and make things happen. What Rodgers must remember is that this is his squad now, a squad he has assembled. This is his team now. He got rid of the deadwood that King Kenny bought, he loaned out Andre Wisdom, Jack Robinson and Suso, and now this is his team. Brendan’s current squad issue is his own problem.
Over the last few seasons Liverpool have invested heavily in their youth structure. Players like Jordan Ibe, Raheem Sterling, Carlos Teixeira and Samed Yesil have all been brought in for significant sums of money with high hopes pinned on them. More recently Tiago Llori was brought in from Sporting Lisbon for £7 million and Rodgers identified him as one for the future. Well Brendan, stop buying players for the future then saying that your current squad NOW isn’t good enough. You are buying these players. You are the one who is talking theses players up and then not giving them a chance. Why buy a young centre back, who is paying regularly for his team, bring him here, talk about how good he is and then not even give him time on the bench. It just baffles me. Carlos Teixeira was bought from Sporting Lisbon too and was hailed as the “New Deco” after impressive displays in the Next Gen youth series. He was recently loaned out to Brentford and came back early because lack of game time and I haven’t really heard a thing about him since.
I saw Jordan Ibe play in pre-season in Australia and I was very impressed. The boy is a good player, better than Sterling. He has the build that can cope with the physical demands of the Premier League, he can pass, has quick feet and has no fear in his play. Rodgers recently said that Ibe’s technical ability is as good, if not better, than Coutinho. But yet Liverpool are loaning him out to Derby to gain experience. Why can’t they give him experience in the Premier League? After all, that’s where he will ultimately be judged. If he is good enough then he is old enough. The Championship and Derby are very different to the Premier League and Liverpool. Play him, give him minutes and we will find out soon enough if he is ready. The same goes for Suso, who is doing well in La Liga. The young Spaniard did very well last year when given the chance. This year he is showing how good he is in Spain. He may feel why come back if I’m going to be a bit part player and players of lesser ability are getting in ahead of me.
In a recent article on BackPageFootball, Robbie Deighan examined the similarities between Rodgers’ current reign and King Kenny’s. I’m starting to feel their transfer policy is pretty similar as well. Joe Allen, called The Welsh Xavi by Rodgers when he signed, just hasn’t done it. He started off well, playing in the holding role while Lucas was injured but since the Brazilian has returned, and a bad shoulder injury, Allen doesn’t look like half the player he was while at Swansea. The two Spaniards, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto came in for a combined fee of £12 million this summer and have yet to contribute anything at all. Aspas has been injured and Alberto just doesn’t look quick enough. He doesn’t look sharp, but this could be due to playing time.
Kolo Toure has played well this season and both he and Simon Mignolet have been good additions to the squad. Toure, if you take away his woeful defending against Hull, has been one of our better players and Mignolet has been outstanding in goal. Sakho was bought for £13 million yet has been on the bench for the last three games. He wasn’t playing poor by any means. He is strong, can pass it from the back and is good in the air but yet just isn’t included. We don’t know what the players are like on day to day in training, but Liverpool have now leaked six goals in two games so I think the giant French man should be brought back in. Fabio Borini, bought for £10.5 million, was another waste of money by Rodgers. He can’t get a game now for Sunderland. Oh and don’t forget Assaidi who was bought for £2.5 million and was loaned out after not even a full season The long and short of it is, Rodgers has wasted a lot of money. Daniel Sturridge, Mignolet and Philippe Coutinho have been hits, the rest not so much. Rodgers has spent a net total of £55 million since he arrived. Look at the bench against Hull, the players on the bench had a combined valuation fee of £60 million plus. That’s a pretty expensive bench isn’t it.
Getting a player in on loan is always risky business. In the case Victor Moses and Aly Cissokho, I feel Rodgers has really messed up. Cissokho looks like Bambi on ice. I always think he is just going to fall over. Say what you like about Jose Enrique but he can attack and links up well. I know its early days for Cissokho but I don’t think he will cut it with Liverpool. Rumor has it Rodgers wants young Barcelona full back Martin Montoya as he isn’t convinced on Cissokho. Victor Moses was brought in from Chelsea this year for some reason. When Liverpool added the young Nigerian to their ranks, I asked myself, where they would play him? Liverpool don’t really play with wingers. Their width comes from their full backs. Moses is a winger, he can play in a front three but why take him on loan, not give him a chance and say that your squad isn’t good enough? He was brought in to strengthen your squad. Has he? I don’t think he has. Ok, he had a poor game against Hull and was at fault for the first goal but I just don’t know why Rodgers took him from Chelsea just to leave him on the bench. Again would it not be wiser to give Ibe or a young player a chance or have them on the bench as opposed to Moses. Look at Liverpool’s neighbours Everton and how they did in the loan market. Romelu Lukaku is banging in the goals, young Gerard Deulofeu is playing out of his skin and Gareth Barry is giving them the steel and stability they need. Three loan players playing and playing well. That’s how the loan system should work.
Look, as I said the current lack of depth or squad problem is Rodgers’ fault. He bought these players and brought them in on loan. As the saying goes, you made your bed, now you have to lay on it. This is the Ulsterman’s own doing. He can’t point the finger at anyone else but himself. The January transfer window is only a few weeks away and players like Montoya and Konstantinos Mitroglou have been named as possible arrivals. Javier Pastore, the Argentine play-maker of Paris St. Germain, is also being mentioned. Why doesn’t Rodgers take Suso back from Spain, give Jordan Ibe a chance and see how they perform. What’s the point in having a youth system, getting a head coach to run it, restructure it but yet not give the young players enough of a chance. Play them and find out and stop wasting money on maybes or players just to make up the numbers. Either that or buy players who can make an immediate impact.
Some of you will say “all signings are a gamble you never know which ones will work” and that’s a valid point, but surely Liverpool can do better than their previous purchases. Rodgers needs to look in the mirror, which I have no doubt he does a lot, and admit he has wasted money, a lot of it. £13 million on Aspas and Alberto and £7 million on Lloris is £20 million spent and nothing in return. Who else could have been brought in for £20 million? Why sign Ilori when you already have four centre backs, one being the vice-captain who can’t get a game? Brendan, Christmas is a time for giving and the owners have given you a lot already. No doubt this Christmas you will want more and more but why don’t you ask for the present you want most, the best present you can get instead of a few small crap presents that will just take up room on your bench?