Liverpool: 6 Causes for Concern at Anfield
Three matches played, one point taken.
The pressing play gave the Gunners fits throughout the first half. Further, the passing play from Allen was sensational while Sahin and Shelvey both showed signs of greater things to come. There was also some tremendous inventive play from the likes of Raheem Sterling and a resurgent Stewart Downing.
Today, the club continued its evolution into Rodgers' style of play. They were composed, they passed well and they pressed.
Yet, there is still the matter of that troubling scoreline. Clearly, the Reds are not all the way there yet.
Here are five reasons why the fans should be worried.
1. Disappointing Play from Senior Players
The standouts at Anfield this afternoon were not the usual suspects.
I would count Raheem Sterling, Stewart Downining, Jonjo Shelvey, Nuri Sahin and most undoubtedly Joe Allen among those who turned in a strong performance.
The worrying trend is the absence of the long-term stand outs.
Steven Gerrard's errant pass led to Arsenal's first goal. Pepe Reina's poor goalkeeping allowed for the second from a bad angle. Further, Luis Suarez continued his profligacy in front of goal. Too often he went to ground when firm footing may have meant a more realistic chance.
2. A Long Learning Curve
Seven games in players should have begun to make the adjustment to the new 4-3-3. For some it is taking longer than for others.
Martin Skrtel's silly backpass gifted Manchester City the draw. Steven Gerrard has now misplaced two passes in the midfield that led to counter-attacking goals.
There is also a persistent lack of ideas up front. Within the new formation, too often players do not seem to know where the final pass should go.
3. Zero Goals from the Run of Play
In three league matches, Liverpool have scored twice.
Both goals were in the second match. One came off of a set piece, and the second was the product of a free kick.
At some point, the Reds have to find a way to score from the run of play. Relying solely on more static offensive options will never lead to a top-four finish.
4. Lack of Depth
The Fenway Sports Group (FSG) did a fantastic job of unloading excess players from the payroll.
Guys like Charlie Adam and Andy Carroll were never going to fit the system. It makes sense that they should be moved on.
Yet, the comparative dearth in incoming talent has now left the club with a disturbing lack of depth.
Few could envy Brendan Rodgers' choice of options when looking to make a substitution this afternoon. With Joe Cole out injured, Downing was left as just about the only offensive option for the manager.
A team with this few weapons cannot hope to sustain a top four challenge.
Rodgers has the team playing world class football. However, a few more injuries and he will be left fielding a youth setup.
5. Financial Naivety
This summer FSG sold or loaned Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Fabio Aurelio, Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam and Alberto Aquilani among others.
Conversely, management sanctioned a total outlay of under £30 million for new investments.
The apparent £1 million worth of haggling that meant the loss of Clint Dempsey is the most worrying of all.
Surely, John Henry and company saw the value in a high profile American international. I imagine jersey sales alone may have made up that financial difference.
Of course as fans, we are not privy to everything that goes on behind the scenes at Anfield. Yet, failing to bring in Dempsey after letting Carroll go has to be seen as something of a betrayal.
6. The Nuclear Option
The Kop is clamoring for the signature of Michael Owen.