Liverpool in Dire Straits With Only Themselves to Blame

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Liverpool in Dire Straits With Only Themselves to Blame
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Four successive defeats to Fiorentina, Chelsea, Sunderland, and Lyon mean Liverpool's ambitions of gaining any silverware both in the Premier League or in Europe have been dealt a massive blow.

The Reds are currently placed eighth in the Barclays Premier League table and seem to have simply run out of gas.

Injuries to Liverpool's star duo of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres haven't really helped matters much, and the questionable sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid continues to haunt the Anfield faithful.

Alonso's replacement, ex-Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani, is still recovering from a long-term injury with the title, more or less, already lost.

Rafael Benitez has come under fire for failing to get a winning combination together and many pundits are beginning to suggest his departure might pave the way for Liverpool to move forward.

A battle between co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillet and speculation over Saudi Prince Faisal bin Fahd's intentions to invest in the club has added to the level of insecurity around Anfield.

On the pitch, however, Liverpool seem to be lacking creativity.

What Xabi Alonso brought to the table was an air of creativity. He and Gerrard could create goals but Alonso's departure means the burden has fallen blatantly on the shoulders of the Liverpool skipper, who earlier scored a last-gasp goal to earn Liverpool a 3-2 win at Bolton.

Take Gerrard out of the equation and Liverpool does not have anybody to create a goal. In that case, your best hope is to launch long balls forward hoping somebody like Dirk Kuyt can get on the end of it. Yossi Benayoun has had a sparkling season so far despite Liverpool's lackluster performances, and the ex-West Ham midfielder appears to be somebody who is willing to shoulder some level of responsibility.

Benayoun is the kind of player who can create a moment of magic. He can make something out of nothing and he can create goals.

Benitez has confused himself even more with the Kuyt scenario. The Dutch forward was transformed into a right winger by Benitez, who conveniently pushes him up to lead the line, every now and again whenever Torres is on the sidelines.

Kuyt isn't really somebody who you would look at to create a goal,although to his credit, he's got a tremendous work ethic. He keeps on running and running, chasing every ball without any complaints. He'll get into the box and find the net, but only if someone can create an opportunity for him.

Benitez's faith in Lucas is surprising, in fact Lucas could be pinned as a reason for many of Liverpool's problems.

The Brazilian midfielder has been largely inconsistent; he's way too defensive-minded and often slows up Liverpool's pace on their counterattacks.

Playing Javier Mascherano and Lucas together is insane; two defensive midfielders in one lineup is like an invitation to the opposition to come and attack and it's like saying, "we'll see if we can hold you off."

Glen Johnson hasn't really been a crowd favorite with the Anfield faithful. He's decent in attack and could be considered as one of the keys to Liverpool's rather depleted attack, but he's way too shaky in defense.

Jaime Carragher's performance have been rather disappointing, it appears as if he's worn out and needs to hang up his boots, sooner rather than later.

Benitez really needs to take a few gambles, and I appreciate him trying to put somebody like Spearing into the fold. He needs to be more brave while making his decisions. Having Torres injured is not the end of the world. Wayne Rooney and Thierry Henry are also injured but Manchester United and Barcelona are managing just fine without them.

He could use somebody like Ryan Babel or Albert Riera more efficiently, rather than allowing them to rot on the bench.

Benayoun and Kuyt would be certain starters, but Lucas' performances need to go under the scanner.

It might be worthwhile reverting to having two men up front (perhaps Andriy Voronin, David N'Gog or even Kuyt) and using a rather conventional method of whipping balls into the box for them rather than having one lad run his socks off in Torres' absence.

Changes need to be made on Merseyside and the time is now; otherwise Bye, Bye Benitez!

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