Eight Reasons for Liverpool FC's current slump.
1. Overreliance on big stars. Steven Gerrard still has something to give and isn't quite out to pasture yet, but he's definitely been fading in recent seasons and multiple injuries haven't helped this. He was slowly, and sensibly, being moved deeper in the midfield, the same way Paul Scholes has for Manchester United. Suddenly he's expected to be the attacking focal point again. It's not going to happen, the days of his Roy of the Rovers performances are over.
2. Dodgy Keeper. I am unsure what has happened to Pepe Reina in the last 18 months - maybe he got too comfortable, maybe he really did want a move away and he's stopped training, but his reaction speed these days and general play is horrific. The goals conceded this year against WBA, Hearts, Manchester City, and both goals against Arsenal were highly preventable. He isn't getting down early enough, he isn't getting his body behind the ball. His confidence is completely shot.
3. Failure to make progress on a new stadium. Due to dithering, indecisiveness, changes in ownership and frankly huge practical problems, Liverpool are playing in an undersized, under-facilitated, money-losing stadium and haven't made any decisive progress to change this. They are losing money to Arsenal and Manchester United every single week.
4. Long term failure in the transfer market. A succession of players have been added to the team over a large number of years now that don't actually add anything to the matchday XI. Alberto Aquilani is the most notable failure, but Stewart Downing is right up there too, failing utterly as a winger and now looking like he's going to be converted into the 2nd choice left back. Maxi Rodriguez was a nothing footballer for the wages he was paid. Jordan Henderson may have had potential but Liverpool are not going to develop him by playing him out of position or putting him on the bench. Any number of smaller failures that have bloated the wage bill and chipped away at the transfer budget. I wouldn't even include someone like Charlie Adam in this category as although he was not a success, at least he offered something different - monotony and sideways passes can be found from any number of sources.
5. Relative failure of the youth system. Since Gerrard, the Liverpool youth system has barely produced anyone - just a few serviceable players. Steven Warnock? Jay Spearing? Martin Kelly looks decent but doesn't play every week. That's an appalling return in 10 years. Any number of foreign youth players have failed to come up in the system too with good reputations - Florent Sinama Pongolle, Anthony Le Tallec, Daniel Pacheco. Raheem Sterling looks like he might have a chance, but given Liverpool's record, would you bank on it?
6. 'This is Anfield' factor. Liverpool are still a huge name and a huge club but don't play or act like one. Teams come to Anfield and it's a big day, a big game for them and they raise their level - against a football team who were 8th in the league last year and will struggle to get that high this year. Rather than turning their reputation into a fear factor the way Manchester United do late in games, playing for Liverpool seems like a burden as the current players basically aren't clinical or decisive enough to live up to the club's reputation.
7. The Manager. When appointing a new boss, Liverpool fell for a recent fad - 'possession football' is currently in vogue just now because of Barcelona, but what Barcelona do is practically irreplicable because of the quality of player they have. People have drawn the wrong conclusions from their style of play - Barcelona use possession football to kill a game and tire the opposition, chasing the ball. You need to be in a winning position and and have the ingenuity and nous to break down stubborn defences if you want to play this style. Barcelona have multiple sources of goals in their team and different ways they can score goals. Brendan Rodgers team don't score many goals, and don't create enough chances. In addition to this, Swansea were already playing nice football before he took them over under Paolo Sousa and Roberto Martinez, he inherited a positive situation, he did not instigate a revolution. Look at Swansea this season under Michael Laudrup - they lost their best two players from last year and they're better this season already than they were at any point last year because he's added a clinical and direct nature in the final third (and a direct footballer in Michu). Rodgers is inexperienced and out his depth, has alienated several members of the squad by his comments about them in the media and botched transfer dealings and has drawn the wrong conclusions about football in his very short managerial career. A dogmatic obsession with 'passing football' as if Liverpool have never before passed the ball cheered on by a friendly media has meant Liverpool have jettisoned their only proper centre forward in Andy Carroll and are left without a plan B or any squad depth.
8. It IS still early. Fabio Borini has had three games. Nuri Sahin has had just one. Joe Allen has had three and looks terrific - it's encouraging that he's able to get stuck in and is actually a good tackler to go with his ball retaining abilities and range of passing. Gelling a team takes time and Liverpool have had a tough run of fixtures - but things need to i689023