1 Oct 2014

'You'd be in trouble': Martinez reveals 'big' reason LFC are failing this year. Correct...?

Six points from seven league games; a negative goal-difference, and languishing in 14th place in the Premier League table. It's fair to say that Liverpool are struggling at the moment, but the question is, why? According to Everton boss Roberto Martinez, there is only one reason for LFC's decline this season.

When asked over the weekend why Liverpool are having problems this year, Martinez told reporters:

“Suarez was a big player at the club, and everyone knew what Liverpool was: very dynamic.

"Any time you leave yourself two vs. one against Suarez you'd be in trouble and that is not there any more. That is the big difference.”

Losing Suarez is obviously a hammer blow for Liverpool, but I dispute the contention that the Reds' current decline is solely - or even mostly - attributable to the Uruguayan's exit.

Focusing on losing Suarez is an easy way out, and takes attention away from the real reasons why Liverpool are struggling this season, which are (IMO):

* Persistence with Steven Gerrard as the deepest-lying midfielder. The warning signs were there last season, but Rodgers has ignored them and continued to utilise Gerrard in a role for which he's not fully-equipped. Liverpool have a soft-centre at the heart of midfield, and teams are consistently capitalising on this weakness (man-marking etc).

* Failure to replace Suarez's goals. Seven games in, and none of Rodgers' attacking signings have scored in the league yet. That says it all, really. This is not about replacing Suarez per se, just his creative contribution.

* Unsettled defence. Like last season, Liverpool still don't have a settled defensive partnership, and Rodgers has made it worse by forcing Lovren to play on the right side of the partnership in a bid to accommodate Sakho. In my view, Toure should've covered for Skrtel, as that would've allowed the team to maintain defensive balance and consistency.

* Mignolet. Liverpool need a dominant goalkeeper, and Mignolet 'aint it. As long as that remains the case, the defence is doomed. Still, it's possible that the Belgian may come good, but if he hasn't learned effective communication, organisation, distribution etc by now, it's unlikely that'll change in the future.

* Formations. Liverpool's most effective formations are (arguably) 433, and 442 (Diamond), yet they've rarely been utilised this season. Rodgers has increasingly employed 4231, which isn't really working. With current personnel (i.e. Balotelli; and no Sturridge), a diamond formation is arguably the best way to go as Balotelli is not really suited to playing as lone striker.

* LFC's signings. Rodgers marginally improved the squad over the summer (Manquillo and Moreno are definite upgrades on Johnson, Cissokho, and even Enrique), but in all other areas, nothing has really improved significantly. Granted, new signings take time to settle-in, but it's hugely concerning that none of Rodgers' big-money signings have hit the ground running.

* Injuries. It's an easy excuse, but it's a valid one, too. However, the loss of Daniel Sturridge should not be felt in such an acute manner, and it's a huge concern that that £100m+ worth of new signings can't effectively cover him for a few games.

If things continue to go wrong in the league, Liverpool could conceivably be pulled into the relegation zone very soon. Of course, at this stage of the season, that means nothing, but it won't be good for morale, and the further away from the top four the club falls, the harder it will be to climb back up.

online surveys



  1. Considering we would have won the game on Sunday if not for a fantastic game from Tim Howard and a wonder goal from Jagielka, I'm not as concerned as some.

    Granted, I want to win every game, and I want the team to play well every game, but that's not realistic.

    The season is still young, and we can still get back in gear.

    Is the loss of Suarez felt? Absolutely.

    But in my opinion, we haven't lost because we don't have Suarez. We've lost because we aren't playing well, and not enough players are contributing.

    We get some of the new players going, and things will start to turn around quickly.

  2. Lallana is a definite improvement for me ... I'm surprised you don't see him that way...

  3. B.R had done well last season to get LFC to where they finished,but the reason they finished where they did is because of none other (Luis Suarez).B.R isn't as good a manager as everyone thinks he is,yes he's done some rights,but he's done plenty of wrongs as well.Especially this season, buy not recruiting a gun forward to replace Suarez.Most managers would have recognised Suarez had to be replaced first,followed by the other problem of defence.And not squad players but proven quality,if he covered those spots properly then tinkered with the rest LFC would not be in the position they're on the ladder.

  4. Sturridge has been hurt. This team has a bunch of new players. They haven't figured each other out yet. Transition season is in progress. We will get better.

  5. br took Kenny's way of managing and rode it, Luis made br look good br is a lower table kind of manager...Gerard was playing great with Luis as if he was rejuvenated from Luis...Suarez makes everybody play hard and one of the reason's he left is sturrige this guy is full of jealousy and lp lost out on a good player the other reason is br, br wants all the attention to himself and hated the fact that lp was a one team pony.

  6. All the items you list are clearly contributing factors to our failure to perform. That being the case there is only one door you can lay the blame at - if indeed we must identify a guilty party - that is our 'sprog' manager.

    An F1 car needs months of preparation by a single minded team of engineers, mechanics, pit crew in conjunction with the owner and designer and manager before any serious attempt to win a race - never mind a series of races. A football team is just the same. We are foolish to believe that the cheque book can buy a complete team to win the title after the competition has begun. BR has bought a new team who lack the steel to deliver the title. Some above has said it's too early to judge but just cast your mind back to when Villa beat us early last season at Anfield. That game was effectively the game that lost us the title. The Reds will begin to perform better about Christmas but they will still show inconsistency. Why?

    We are like the proverbial polo mint - nice and sweet and fresh but with a gaping hole in the middle. Suso, Markovic, Coutinho are pretty to watch at times but they are basically 'road runners' without the muscle to win consistently. A team with a dodgy keeper, dodgy centre halves no midfield enforcer and no firepower will do well to maintain a challenge for a top four place but I feel that is the best we can achieve.

    I find it annoying when BR claims credit for getting Louis Suarez to stay last season when we all know it was John Henry and Steven Gerrard who deserve the praise for that. But sadly he's gone with his determination and shooting boots so we will just have to play his old videos until the manager settles down and blends muscle with skill.

    PS I agree with you JK that Steven Gerrard is wasted in defence. He is a creative midfielder and should be restored to his proper position for as long as he cn stay the pace. He is far from finished!

  7. You haven't even listed the most realistic reason: new signings - not the quality of them. Without Sturridge this is magnified, but the main reason is players adapting and systems being worked out. We will be there soon.
    I find it laughable the way people round on Rodgers after that season - actually 18 months before - and will try to argue it was flash in the pan. Despicable.

  8. Here's a different spin on things. It may sound weird but Glen Johnson in full flow offered us a lot of flair and variation down the right. Manquillo is a good defender but he is orthodox. When Flanno, Wisdon or Manquillo play ahead of Johnson we lack something going forward even if his assists/goals stats dont back it up. What we gain defensively from GJ not playing we visibly lose from an attacking point of view but only when he's at his best. He can go on the outside or cut in and he often contributed to our creative chemistry. Moreno and Manquillo have bags of pace but an on song Johnson has guile, an ingredient which is sadly lacking from our very orthodox (with the exception of Lallana because Sterling for all of his pace isnt an out an out creator) and robotic team.

  9. agreed. We haven't witnessed football....winning attractive football like this for years. Some of our fans are spoilt and cant see that what we achieved last season was miraculous mainly due to Rodgers and the mentality he promotes within the group.

  10. Suarez is the easy answer and it's a good one. It's simple when you've got a player of that quality - he plays every single game, he scores goals consistently, he's incredibly predictable in terms of fitness and effort and style of play. That lends a stability to your side when every single match you have this one guy of top quality dominating his end of the pitch. Of course Suarez wasn't always at his best but he always contributed, he was always quality. So I think it's valid enough to say that losing Suarez has effected the team more than anything else. We have the same defensive issues as last season, the same Gerrrard in midfield, the inconsistently available Sturridge ... so there is plenty that hasn't changed at all. For me it's the single biggest reason why we've let slip these few games. A few moments of magic from Suarez could easily have turned those results around.

    The second biggest reason is what Rodgers keeps talking about which is that need for intensity, pace and a unified team attitude that starts at 110% and keeps it there as long as possible. It's not that the new players are unable to perform at this level, they are just not used to it, not the way he expects it. Of course it takes time and Rodgers himself keeps pointing it out: we start seasons slowly and finish strongly. This is because at the start of each year it takes time for any new players to adapt to the system. It even takes time for existing players to get back into the groove. So right now the players are absolutely not operating at that top pace and that's hurting us. We're not getting the fast starts we did towards the end of last year. Conversely we're getting mugged by teams who are starting fast against us, catching us napping. The Everton game was a sign that things are better and you could see from the start that Liverpool were up on pace, looking for quick balls, really trying to press and attack and wrestle the game away. I expect more of the same against Basel. It will get better and better each week until hopefully by Christmas we'll actually be performing at the level everyone expects.

    Dodgy defence is obviously important, it's probably the biggest issue Liverpool have as a club, but it was dodgy last season and it's not really any different now. I think the Crystal Palace game mentally damaged the team, even though we've got all these new players. It's carried over into a new season and there seems to be an air of panic and confusion in the team at times. But I don't think there is a big difference there, I think we're just rubbish at defending and it's not getting any better. Mignolet is no better or worse than last year and our fullbacks are probably better players but they are new to the club. Rodgers doesn't have me convinced that he really knows what he's doing from a defensive point of view, certainly not in the same way he's got the attack strategy worked out.

  11. u are clearly right dude...but till when will the transition progress continue...remember we have been transitioning for the past 3 years...for me, BR is a failure in the transfer market....that's y we r struggling...

  12. I agree with near enough everything expect Mignolet and Palace.

    Our defence was nervy all last season, not just at palace and for me Mignlolet is a major part of the problem.

    The man simply has no command of his area, he has no presence. He should be in control of everything that happens in his area, he should be issuing instructions at his defenders but he doesn't, and until he either changes this or we get a new keeper our defence will always be nervy

  13. We didn't have Suarez for the first few games last season and we managed fine.
    Obviously losing him will have some impact, but that's not all it is.
    We seem to be playing at a different pace to last season, and its much easier to defend. The intensity of our game has gone.

  14. I agree totally on Glen Johnson's contribution.

  15. Suarez constantly gave 110% on the pitch...every game...pushing others to do the same...who is doing that this season??Hendo??Suarez had the ability to create opportunities from nothing. I can't see anyone else capable of such feats this season.That x factor makes the difference between top 4 and top half.

  16. I'm Mignolet agnostic, I just don't have a clear opinion of him. I think I might get too upset if I did.

  17. It's a poor start no doubt, but it's too early to be making judgements. I always wait until 10 matches in before starting to make predictions. Let's be fair, the difference between 4th and us is three points. So let's just wait and give BR and his squad a chance. However, there are certainly issues Rodgers needs to address.

    One thing I am really tired of are internationals, they can seriously ruin a season. I was just waiting for Sturridge to get injured whilst playing for England during qualifying for another tournament they will be crap at. They need to completely rethink the way these tournament qualifications are structured so they have less impact on clubs.

  18. I would suggest that most supporters ( not to mention owners ) thought that spending over 100 million pounds on new players was to keep us in top four and CL THIS season and not as as a down payment for seasons to come !

  19. thexcuriousxwanderer9:18 am, October 01, 2014

    Gerard is good with distribution and reading of the game. The problem is both need an outlet, and we can say a stationary Mario ain't super. What's the point of someone who can distribute well up front if there is no one to run into space? If there is no one running the offside trap, what is the use of passing such balls? Heck, you can have Xavi, lots of space, and it wouldn't make a difference because no one is running into those spaces. One less person up front is a lot. I wouldn't be surprised if BR issued Mario a "run to be benched" ultimatum. Next match, just look at his movement off the ball ... sluggish.

  20. 100 mill in my mind is only enough to build a thin squad or purchase 2 truly world class players. Seeing as we needed to strengthen due to the increased games as well as the fact that no world class players wanted to come, I don't see what options BR had. Not directed at you necessarily, but I would like to know who others would have bought for the money. Apart from signing a keeper and a defensive mid we're ok. I think in an ideal world Origi would be part of the squad now, his pace, movement and youthful enthusiasm would of been a great foil for Balotelli with Sturridge out.

  21. Totally agree. A commanding, safe goalkeeper totally changes the mindset of the defence in front. Lee Dixon has said many times that they knew what they were going to get from Seaman . Steady, no surprises or rash decisions and that enabled them to focus on their jobs. I was all for giving Mignolet time, but despite being a good shot stopper most of the time, he is very lacking in most other areas. Mentally he must have a weakness too as he genuinely believes that he is better than Courtois. It sickens me that Chelsea have managed to find 2 of the best keepers around with one ready to take over, just as he reaches world class.

  22. why most still thinking we r losing suarez is a major prob???? Main prob i see is BR still dunno how to utilize his signing...

  23. That is just nonsense

  24. Well said mate

  25. I do as well. I have been truly disgusted by an unfortunately large section of our support

  26. When was the last time Glen Johnson was in full flow?

  27. Arsene Wenger ought to hold seminars for all managers on how to reinvent a team especially when your superstar leaves. Admittedly there's been some decline in in AW team they rarely have that dramatic decline when a star leaves. His transfers are generally good & any deadwood gets moved on quickly e.g Andre Santos. He tends to get value for money in transfers. The standout feature is his willingness to make unpopular decisions for the good of the team- moving on older players/legends e.g Ian Wright, didn't beg Berkamp to stay on etc etc

    BR is still learning, it's clear that he didn't plan well for life after Saurez neither did he address our near pedestrian & fragile midfield. Athletic enforcer has been a must since Macherano left. Gerrard has been IMO is better attacking & not defending, Borini will never make it, Remy would have been a fantastic addition to the squad. My main concern is the transfers, whilst it's too early to right anyone off, if Markovic doesn't show glimpses of talent serious Qs need to be asked! Ibe & Suso for Markovic at the moment.

  28. I think you hit the nail on the head there Jamie ol boy. There's certainly a group of issues which are causing us a lot of trouble, issues that were very apparent last season. Issues which I had hoped BR would address.

    My little two cents according to JK's list:

    - Steven Gerrard- Last season SG was playing in an unfamiliar role, as such opposing teams were also unfamiliar at the impact SG would have there. He got caught out plenty of times last season but a blind eye was turned over due to our attacking prowess.

    This season, teams now know SG's weaknesses and strengths in that position and they are exploiting it. And one of these exploitation is man marking SG.

    BR completely missed the point yesterday when he said:

    “The biggest credit you can give to Stevie is that at 34 years of age, at this
    level, he is being man-marked. I think in a couple of the games that has just
    showed you the level and influence that he still has on this team.”

    “Naismith tried to follow and get around him, but we did some work on clearing the space so we could move him out of positions so we could get the ball in different areas.”

    SG is being man marked because teams identify him as a weak spot in our team, not because he is a threat. SG has had 2 or so good games this season, having one good game does not prove anything.

    IMO Henderson would do a superb job playing that DM position, he does not contribute enough goals and assists anyways so having him there instead of SG would be good for the team (or even Allen).

    - Suarez: Arguably one of the best attackers in today's game, it was always going to be nearly impossible to replace him. What we needed is someone who could give you those 20+ goals a season, not necessarily someone in the same silk as Suarez. I've been very unimpressed with Balotelli but think he will come good, but will he give us 15+ a season?

    - Defense: Rule no.1 = play your best players in their natural positions. Only world class played like Suarez can adapt playing a different position equally as good as their natural.

    I think we should keep Moreno and Manquillo are our FBs. They will grow into the role and I've been impressed with them.

    Play Lovren as a LCD as that is his natural position and play Skrtel as RCD. Arguably that is our best defence. Skrtel still defensively suspect but better than Sakho IMO.

    - Mignolet: Good shot stopped, not much else. Average to say the least. Get in a prove keeper. Any german keeper will do, Germany have dozens: Ziegler, Adler, Leno etc...

    If not, Valdes. Poor keeper we have. Hope he improves.

    - Formation: Play the formation that works. Balo struggles up front by himslef, so does Sturridge. Give them a 5 game run together.

    - New players: I thought we did really well to be honest, disappointing as any that only 2 have started well (Moreno & Manquillo). Lallana looks promising and he will be a big player for us. Marko looks poor, very poor. He needs to step up. I know he can do better.

    Lambert..atrocious. He talks about fitness being low but it's his job to be fit. Silly decision IMO to give the captaincy on his start debut. Too much pressure.

    - Injuries: We've been unfortunate. But so have United. Have blowing over £100M we should have enough cover for these injuries. As you can see loaning out Origi is beggining to bite us.

    All in all, we'll improve. But don't expect a title assault. I want top 4, a carling or FA cup and an extended run in the CL.

  29. Good post, slightly disagree with Lambert. His type of player, man-mountain stay match-fit by playing week in week out. He will never reproduce his form for the saints with the odd 15minutes. He's not a natural athlete in the same way Remy is.

  30. It was a remarkable season and brilliant to watch, Rogers plays the football we all missed. Rafa missed out on the league as well and had us paying good football that year too. But I just feel we are in a similar position as Rafa was the season after, we lost our best player and didn't buy proven quality for whatever reason. That's my opinion though.

  31. -SG is being man marked because teams identify him as a weak spot.
    Have to disagree, he is being man marked because of his distribution.

  32. I agree Jaimie. I've always felt that this Suarez excuse has always just been way too easy, lazy, convenient, and obvious.

  33. I found it really saddening on Saturday to see Steven Gerrard slide towards his own supporters with both ears cupped after having scored a great free kick effectively asking them 'does that satisfy you from your ageing OTT captain?' My abiding fear is that he'll begin to listen to those disparagers and submit a transfer request. - They will then quickly discover how many top managers STILL rate him! I would hate to see him leave but at the same time feel Chelsea would still give him the opportunity to win the prize he craves which Liverpool will not.

    Jose Mourino would manage him in a way Brendan Rodgers can never aspire to. So I say to those Reds 'supporters' who do not appreciate what their captain brings to the team KEEP ON MOANING AND YOU MAY FIND OUT.

  34. 80%of a pro player is in the mind as long as they are of quality and i don't think br has the know how to deal with them.most of the new players except for balo were of success elsewhere but balo is in my opinion a fuch up...

  35. I find that every time Lambert gets a chance, he absolutely bottles it. He'll do something terrible like trip over the ball as he dribbles into a dangerous open space, or he'll scuff a shot.

  36. My ageing memory tells me Rafa was never really in a position to win it unless a giant earthquake affected the Premier Division BUT Rodgers was in pole position with three matches to play. Still a big ask having still to play Chelsea. Nevertheless, it was a great run by the team to get in that position but the winning run was always going to be difficult to sustain. - A win and a draw from 3 matches?
    It was the right decision to try to win by a shedload of goals at Crystal Palace because that was our only hope of overtaking Manchester City but unfortunately a Gayle blew our defenders away.

  37. you talk nonsense most of the time..your comments my god are like as if you are an integral part of BR's team and knows it all..so

  38. this guy steven gerrard has proved out to be game winner all his career..give him chance up front and he will change it for you..he rarely affects the game at DM position..BR makes lot of decision mistakes