West Ham 3-1 Liverpool: No Suarez, No Party?
Liverpool has already suffered its third defeat; and that too in just five league games. After back-to-back losses, something clearly seems to be amiss. Suarez’s absence is more prominent than ever, with last season’s passion and intensity clearly lacking in the squad. Not one player could be deemed worthy of the Red shirt last night, barring youngsters Sterling and Moreno.
With Sturridge out, the pairing of Italians Borini and Balotelli upfront seemed pretty much toothless, with barely any understanding between the two. Apart from providing good work ethic, Borini lacks that magic or touch that Suarez so clearly showed last year. Balotelli, apart from holding the ball down and assisting Sterling, had low work rate and barely any contribution towards the other end.
West Ham had lost both previous home games this season and taken just four points from their last eight games against their opponents. Yet they proved to be formidable opposition for Liverpool and showed that strong defensive ethic is as important as attack in the world’s biggest league.
Rodgers clearly seemed to be out of ideas yesterday and tactically, this was a game to forget. Bringing on Lallana brought some intensity into the game after half time but there was barely anything he could do to save the game. Not one player in the defensive back line was up to mark, with Skrtel, Lovren and Sakho all committing potentially costly errors. Moreno is definitely a player to watch out for, with some of his runs reminiscent of former left back Riise who had a lovely stint at Liverpool. Even defensively, he performed much better than other Liverpool defenders on the field.
Nothing can be possibly taken away from West Ham’s performance though. They scored two early goals and came back after consecutive defeats to give the fans a boost of faith. Playing a high intensity game and often catching Liverpool defenders unaware, they were a real threat on the field. Mignolet can’t find his feet and makes costly errors repeatedly, and it’s time he received strict competition from the bench. The kind of command that the keeper needs over his defenders is obviously missing.
With so much money being spent on Liverpool transfers this summer, Rodgers can no longer use the ‘rejuvenation phase’ excuse. Liverpool, especially after last season, is expected to play much better and finish in the top four at the very least. With Suarez gone, there seems to be nobody who can bail Liverpool out of this situation apart from Sturridge. He’ll be back for the Merseyside derby next week and hopefully provide a much better option.
Even the captain seemed clueless last night, and his age is taking it’s toll and his legs are giving way now. Maybe it’s time Rodgers benched Gerrard for a few games to try out a different midfield.