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Rodgers Rubbishes Internal Liverpool Problems
Tuesday, Dec. 16
Speaking at a pre-game presser ahead of Liverpool's Capital One Cup clash with Bournemouth, Rodgers answered claims of a divided dressing room at Anfield, per the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:
Gerrard/Lovren Bust-up Reported
Monday, Dec. 15
In the wake of Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester United, it's been alleged that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and defender Dejan Lovren clashed following the Reds' recent 3-1 loss at Crystal Palace.
The Sun (h/t the Daily Star's Jack Wilson) reports that the pair had a war of words following the defeat to Palace in late November, with Gerrard blaming his centre-back for the team's defensive issues:
The Liverpool captain was playing in front of the back four, but Lovren felt he was not giving enough cover. But boss Brendan Rodgers backed Gerrard and proceeded to drop Lovren for the next four games.
The Sun reports that Lovren's struggles at Anfield come down to a language problem as he's finding it hard to communicate with full-backs Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo.
Lovren has failed to recapture the form he showed at Southampton last season, which led to his £20 million arrival at Anfield this past summer. However, Gerrard has shown his own flaws, too.
Sunday's embarrassment at Old Trafford was but the latest setback for Brendan Rodgers' side, with the Northern Irishman admitting in his post-match comments that the dressing room has problems, per the Daily Mail's Neil Ashton:
We have to recapture the team ethos. With the emphasis of the team, it is clear to me that we are searching to find solutions. The players are working hard, the players have given everything, they are pressing and they are working.
In every dressing room there have always been been issues, but it is not something I discuss outside of the dressing room. The players are honest but we are not getting results. I can’t fault the commitment of the players because they gave everything.
Liverpool's "everything" wasn't good enough to hold back the Red Devils, despite Liverpool fashioning their fair share of scoring opportunities, several of which were missed by Raheem Sterling.
If the absence of Daniel Sturridge was apparent before, the defeat to Louis van Gaal's men made the club's current lack of a true finisher clearer than ever. Had the England international been present, the Reds may have even taken a result, with a superb David de Gea display also lending its hand in their demise.
Liverpool currently sit 10th in the Premier League standings and recently crashed out of the Champions League, so it's inevitable that morale among the squad is low.
However, the Irish Daily Star's Paul Little is of the opinion that Gerrard is as culpable as his defence for a failure to provide proper cover in his deep-lying role:
Given The Sun's claims that Lovren and Gerrard's bust-up came almost a month ago, one can't imagine the relationship have improved. In the six outings since, the Merseysiders have won just twice, keeping two clean sheets.
Problems rest in just about every area. First-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was dropped in favour of Brad Jones for the United fixture, Sturridge's absence is creating concern up front and there lies indecision everywhere in between.
With news of playing personnel allegedly clashing, it's also inevitable that calls for Rodgers' sacking will intensify. The "loss of the dressing room" is, in many cases, a fabled precursor when it comes to managerial changes.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher admitted that the Northern Irishman is under increased pressure when speaking on Sky Sports (h/t Daily Mail's Adam Shergold), citing his predecessors as examples:
Brendan Rodgers is under pressure. The owners were ruthless with Kenny [Dalglish] and Roy [Hodgson]. You go out against Bournemouth [in Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final] and then you have Arsenal. He was manager of the year but he has to get results.
You expect them to do well after spending that kind of money. They are looking to be in the top four but they have failed in the Champions League. It will be hard to catch United because they are not in Europe. Arsenal will be going for fourth as well.
If they don't get top four then he will be under pressure.
Rodgers overcame the odds guiding his team to a second-placed finish last season, but past accolades will only count for so much when Liverpool's fall from grace has been so severe.
Lovren was one of those brought in to ensure that rise continued, and although one can't lump the blame solely with the Croat, he's admittedly one of those failing to live up to expectations.
Criticisms of Gerrard are perhaps more worrying. The 34-year-old is an Anfield stalwart who made his first-team debut in 1998, but perhaps even his impact is past its best, with Rodgers requiring more of his skipper.
Reports of the dressing room quarrel are yet to be confirmed. Rodgers can only hope he has enough of a grip on his players to resolve the issue before it grows into something that could damage Liverpool's results even more in the months to come.