Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal – Rodgers Work In Progress Needs Patience

By Jonathan Carroll

Brendan Rodgers watched his Liverpool side slump to a second defeat in three games at Anfield on Sunday. Arsene Wenger’s men took care of a side short on creativity in the final third with goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.

There has been a negative reaction from most Liverpool supporters relating to the clubs inability to replace Andy Carroll. That fact cannot be ignored. The truth of the matter may be that Rodgers will be forced to blood youth as the free agent market offers little room for hope. Michael Owen is without a club for a reason, not to mention the many other factors why he shouldn’t be welcomed back to the club.

Rodgers has brought in a new system of play. A more fluid pass and move in a 4-3-3 formation. Obviously with Liverpool’s failings in the transfer market the current situation is not the managers fault. He does not have the personnel he would prefer playing that formation. Fenway Sports Group combined with Ian Ayre are culpable for that. As of right now, no one really knows who exactly was at fault for missing out on Clint Dempsey but Ian Ayre and FSG need to examine how players are signed from now on. Liverpool take too much time signing players, always have done, even back to the days of David Moores as chairman. The fact remains Liverpool lack strength in depth as a result.

Sundays display was not a horror show. Liverpool played some great football in the first half. Once it got to the final third there was a lack of creativity. Luis Suarez probably had one of his worst games as a Liverpool player. Not far behind was Steven Gerrard. It was the captain who gave the ball away that led to Lukas Podolski scoring Arsenals opener at the Kop end on a swift counter attack lead by the immense Abou Diaby.

Raheem Sterling was once again very impressive as he looked to create from the left flank. The youngster should indeed have had a penalty when Per Mertesacker lunged at him in the box and brought him down. The German got the slightest of touches but referees are inconsistent on what is and isn’t a penalty. Compare Mertesacker’s challenge to the one on Robin Van Persie in Manchester United’s game against Southampton today and you’ll see two tackles where the defender gets the ball. However, one is given and the other is not. Referees could be a lot more transparent if they explained their decisions.

In the second half Arsenal forged more of a stranglehold on the game and effectively killed it off with the impressive Cazorla scoring from a tight angle past Pepe Reina. The Spanish goalkeeper once again at fault for a goal and has worryingly declined in the last sixteen months, becoming more and more liable to mistakes without another keeper pushing him for his place. Thomas Vermaelen was guilty of hauling down Suarez in the box but once again penalty appeals were waved away. You have the feeling Suarez will need to be decapitated for referees to give him any questionable decisions after the Uruguayan was poorly betrayed by the media after Alex Ferguson’s witch hunt.

Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin made his debut for Liverpool today and was neat and tidy on the ball. Fitness most likely a factor in him not making a bigger impact on the game. Joe Allen continues to be the best Liverpool player so far this season. His intelligence on the ball is outstanding and was the major shining light against Arsenal. Steven Gerrard however has not had the best start to the season. Dropping Steven Gerrard may be a valid question in Brendan Rodgers’ mind tonight. It wont be easy however, just ask Rafa Benitez. It was a common consensus among those close to goings on at Anfield during the Benitez reign that Rafa wouldn’t truly get total control of the team and the ideas/strategy he wanted to implement until Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher left or retired from the club. Does Rodgers drop Gerrard and look to play a younger more dynamic version of him in the form of Jonjo Shelvey?

Patience is needed this season. A lot of it. It is easy to complain and other clubs supporters would have had a chorus of boo’s at the end of todays game (see Spurs versus Norwich). Growing up I learned that Liverpool supporters were of a different breed, albeit this was in 1986. They were different in that they genuinely knew their football. They recognized good players and teams when they came to Anfield. They appreciated hard work even if things weren’t going the way they wanted. That ethos is slowly leaving the club and its supporters. Modern society has a culture of instantaneous satisfaction that has led to a lot of younger supporters becoming generic.

Many internal areas need addressing within the club. Only FSG can fix what may or may not be working. It’s up to the supporters to get behind the eleven on the pitch. It’s very cliché and something I would normally never write but the negativity carries over to the players and with one win from three Anfield should be doing as much vocally as humanly possible to help the players. Instead three thousand Arsenal supporters out sung forty-two thousand Liverpool spectators.

Up front for Liverpool Brendan Rodgers has played Suarez as his central striker, Borini as the right forward and Sterling on the left. The only one that looks comfortable has been Sterling. Suarez may indeed benefit from going wide right and allowing Borini to make intelligent runs in behind from a central role. The upcoming international break will allow Rodgers and his team to reflect and work towards changing the teams current shortcomings. The fact Liverpool lack an out-and-out goalscorer will not be solved overnight. Rodgers has a huge task ahead of him this season, but there’s also thirty-five games left in the league.

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina – 3
  • 02 Johnson – 5
  • 03 Jose Enrique – 5
  • 05 Agger – 6
  • 37 Skrtel – 6 (Booked)
  • 04 Sahin – 6 (Shelvey – 67′ Booked )
  • 08 Gerrard – 4
  • 24 Allen – 8
  • 31 Sterling – 7
  • 07 Suarez – 5
  • 29 Borini – 5 (Downing – 54′ ) – 5

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 16 Coates
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly
  • 14 Henderson
  • 19 Downing
  • 33 Shelvey

Arsenal

  • 24 Mannone – 5
  • 04 Mertesacker -5 (Booked)
  • 05 Vermaelen – 7 (Koscielny – 90′ )
  • 25 Jenkinson – 6
  • 28 Gibbs – 5
  • 02 Diaby – 8
  • 08 Arteta – 7 (Booked)
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 (Ramsey – 72′ )
  • 19 Cazorla – 7
  • 09 Podolski – 7 (Santos – 82′ )
  • 12 Giroud – 6

Substitutes

  • 36 Martinez
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 11 Santos
  • 14 Walcott
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 22 Coquelin
  • 27 Gervinho
Referee: Howard Webb – 5
Attendance: 44,932
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3 thoughts on “Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal – Rodgers Work In Progress Needs Patience

  1. Pingback: Letters to Fans: In Need of a Dew Direction or Patience Needed? | The Red Letter

  2. Pingback: Reds Look to Regroup with a Win Against the Black Cats | The Red Letter

  3. Pingback: Tensions on the M62: Liverpool v Manchester United | The Red Letter

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