By Si Steers.
In the post-apocalyptic world of Luis Suarez leaving Liverpool, there was always going to be a period of reinvention required. The blueprint that took us so close to the title was heavily reliant on the speed of Sturridge and the unpredictability of Suarez.
Without both players the team dynamic has had to change to accommodate players with different attributes. For a team so heavily reliant on the system making the team the sum of its parts, it has led to a mixed bag of performances in the opening stages of the season.
This season was always going to be difficult coming on the back of the best Premier League season the club has ever had. The expectation was all about progression, which left only one place to go. The likeliest scenario this season was always going to be a realignment of what progress looks like at this stage – and that is very much about retaining a top 4 position.
Although the team looks a shadow of the side of last season at this stage, there is plenty of time left for reinvention to find the right formula to get us back into the top 4. It is an easy trap to fall into judging progress by each game, or group of five games, but it rarely gives you the right indicator as to the overall health of the club.
There are plenty of reasons that Liverpool FC remains heading in the right direction that include:
It is incredible to think that after last season some fans and pundits still aren’t totally convinced by Brendan Rodgers. It is pure folly to suggest that our success was solely down to Luis Suarez, and Rodgers had no influence or impact on the season at all. It was Rodgers getting the most out of his players and finding the perfect formula that took us so close, and for that reason, he should have earned the trust of fans to reinvent the side now. In fairness he does, but you sense that during every bad patch there are some that don’t believe.
During Alex Ferguson’s tenure at United he had to reinvent his side multiple times after losing big names like Cantona, Ronaldo & Tevez. It always takes time to tweak your style to fit new players – and vice versa – it’s a readjustment period.
The closest we have seen this season to the blueprint of last is Spurs away, which has been our best, most complete performance so far – but not perfect. It is little surprise that performance was built on the back of the spine of last season’s team – it also made absolutely clear the importance of Daniel Sturridge to our game.
One of our key strengths last season, and something Rodgers did brilliantly well, was to build a sense of collective purpose and spirit. With so many new players coming in, it is going to take a little bit of time to find that same formula. But there is no question Rodgers will be looking hard to build that sense of team unity as quickly as possible.
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