by Kieran Davies
As a lifelong Liverpool supporter, a message to all fans, this season will tell you which type of Liverpool fan you are. The reason for this? Brendan Rodgers. To me it is obvious that his brand of football will take time to get the squad to adapt to. Some players will take to it more quickly than others but the focus is the side playing as a unit and in order for this to happen, every player on that park has to be switched on to it. I think Brendan will also have reiterated this to the owners before agreeing terms and made them more than aware that this will not be done overnight. I wonder even whether year one of his contract is about foundation building and without the lavish sums being granted as was to Kenny the summer before, whether the owners would overlook matters as long as they could see progression in the manager installing his vision at the club.
This will leave the fans in one of two camps. If you find yourself in the first camp you will be calling for the removal of the manager and be accusing the club of appointing someone not capable at this level. If this is you, you will probably have Rafa Benitez as your profile pic on Facebook, you know who you are! If you find yourself in the second camp you will be using your thick skin when it comes to your friends who support other clubs giving you stick. This season is not going to be about winning every game we play, it is about installing a new philosophy throughout the club. The ‘tiki-taka’ style of football Rodgers favours was never born at Barcelona in a month or so, it takes time. A lot of fans would argue well he did it with Swansea last season, but he took over at Swansea much earlier than this and had a full season working with these players in the Championship before they took on the challenge of Premier League football. Granted he had instant success at Swansea but if you start getting the ball down and passing it for 90 minutes, you will beat most teams in the Championship easily. However, even against an average Hearts team last night, the passing game looked sketchy and there were too many poor touches and misplaced passes even against weak opposition by comparison to Premier League standards.
I think it is plain to see his impact on the style of play of the side already, but they are a long way off the finished article. Luis Suarez really needs to improve his chance/goal conversion ratio if Liverpool are going to get anything out of this season. Currently his conversion rate would depress most centre backs. Opponents would be more than happy facing a striker who when on beating you and going through one on one with the keeper you still know there’s only a 20% of him scoring. Maybe it’s a confidence thing and he needs a run in the side getting on the scoresheet every week, most fans forgive his misses as he creates most of his own chances however. This needs addressing. With only a short time left in the current transfer window, Liverpool will be happy to see the window close. This will end the tiring Andy Carroll saga although after his removal from the squad yesterday due to a ‘knee injury’ your guess is as good as mine as to whether he will be a Liverpool player then. It looks as though Nuri Sahin will be an addition on loan but to me this shows a real imbalance of centre midfielders competing for two positions for me. The Clint Dempsey saga continues although I think he would be a real position addition and could play off a striker well whilst contributing a good amount of goals personally also.
Man City are the visitors this weekend and I can clearly see Liverpool winning this one. What a shift in fortune this is for the Anfield outfit that they are now perceived as a side that will beat the big teams and lose to the minnows. It always used to be the other way around when Rafa was there and we would never beat the ‘big four’ as it was then. Okay he had his moments but no-one has managed to find that balance of being able to the expected games whilst beating the better teams in the league also. Brendan Rodgers could be this person but he needs to apply his own brand by adding players to the squad and getting the existing players to buy in to his ethic. Sunday will be a tough challenge for his new Liverpool team but fans will know how far along this ‘work in progress’ is come 6pm.