Liverpool FC: 6 Things Brendan Rodgers Must Get Right Before City Arrive
A fantastic preseason had raised expectations of all those associated with Liverpool Football Club, but an embarrassing defeat at the hands of West Brom has sent those expectations plummeting with their tails between their legs.
Liverpool looked like a side fighting relegation, and though it is almost certain you will see an improved Liverpool side next week, the demons of a once-great club run to the ground have reared their heads once again.
Rodgers' first game in charge couldn't have gone worse, so here are six things he can do to improve by next weekend.
Sort the Defence Out
Liverpool face a hindrance already in the absence of Daniel Agger, after the Dane was sent off, and Rodgers must get the back line right against arguably the best attack in the league.
Jose Enrique should be re-instated as left-back, and as much as it hurts to say it, Jamie Carragher should play no part.
Carragher is a fantastic man, a legend at the club, but his age has gotten the better of him and he represents more of a hindrance nowadays.
So, my back line would go like this:
Johnson, Kelly, Skrtel, Enrique.
This is to say, Kelly and Skrtel in the middle, flanked by Enrique and Johnson.
Kelly is a great defender and is a centre-back by trade, so he should get the nod over Coates and Carragher.
Sort Gerrard and Lucas Out
Our midfield trio of Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva was effective during the first half, but after their confidence was drained, they never looked capable of pulling the side to victory by the scruff of the neck.
Joe Allen was by far our best midfielder.
Lucas wasn't particularly poor, but he didn't make an impact on the game defensively, and next week he should be urged to improve considerably against top-class opposition. It is likely that Lucas will be given the task of marking David Silva, and if he doesn't improve, Silva will run rings round the Brazilian.
It's not often that Gerrard has a bad game.
However, he was the worst player in our midfield this weekend, guilty of over-complication and consequent loss of possession, which lead to a penalty.
I highly doubt Gerrard will have another bad game against City, but nevertheless, maybe a word from Rodgers is required.
Sort the Wingers Out
We had wingers. You just didn't see them.
I swear, they were there.
Borini and Downing need a wake-up call. Get in the game. You're not there to watch it, you're there to influence it. If you're not getting the ball because the side is lacking motivation, go in search of it. Do what the best in the world do: When it's not coming to you, go get it yourself.
Teach Suarez a Lesson in Finishing
Luis Suarez is a great dribbler. He makes things happen that were seemingly impossible.
But he is an awful finisher.
I'd say Suarez has a conversion rate of under 10 percent. It's that bad, and it's letting the team down. It can't be worked on by a manager really, but maybe urging Luis to go for the simple over the extravagant might stop this kind of slide from coming up every single Liverpool game.
Get the Team Selection Right
Liverpool must play their full-strength side against the next five or so opponents. For me, that side looks like this.
Reina, Johnson, Kelly, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Allen, Lucas, Gerrard, Suarez, Borini, Carroll.
Maybe, just maybe, Assaidi or a new signing will move into the attack instead of Borini. Carroll should play against City, as he has a record of terrorising them, and to be honest, he deserves it, looking at the way the forward trio performed on the weekend.
Please get it right, Brendan. You've lost any chance of experimentation with your loss, so go all out for a win, please.
Please. It's for your sake, too.
Get the Confidence Levels Up
Liverpool players looked scared of trying anything that might go wrong. You can't be afraid at this level.
The wingers, especially Downing, looked reluctant to run at the full-back and get a shot away. Rodgers must re-instate confidence into his side, and the crowd must do anything and everything they can. A confident Liverpool side is capable of beating anyone.
I believe Liverpool can beat City at Anfield. The players must believe that, too.
Thanks for reading.
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