Liverpool under early season pressure

What a difference a season can make. After the Liverbird rose so magnificently last season, almost reaching the pinnacle of the league with an attractive, attacking style of football unmatched by all but the blue half of Manchester, this season the same Liverbird is in danger of being grounded. Of course it is still very early in the season, and only a fool would make any concrete predictions at this premature stage. However there is no mistaking the early problems. The influx of the transfer proceeds from the departure of the wantaway Luis Suarez was meant to have supplied the steel to a much criticized defence. But with the departure of Daniel Agger, and the new arrivals, with the exception of Moreno, struggling to settle, the same defensive frailties are still present. Woeful defending was the key to the shock 3-0 defeats to Villa and the even more worrying 3-1 reversal away to West Ham. Johnson is woefully out of form and the comical Sakho would be better suited to a Liverpool Comedy Club than the illustrious stage of the Premier League. Midfield has also seen much investment, but with increased investment comes a requirement for an increased 'bedding in' time...time that Liverpool will not be granted, given the pressure of a full domestic season and the demands of a Champions League campaign. Although Liverpool's transfer activity in the Summer started early enough, it was concluded late and was also impacted by injuries which has prevented the new personnel from developing as a unit. This is not an excuse, more a reality. The late signing of Balotelli, in what was a gaping vacancy following Suarez's departure, indicates both a failure of Liverpool to attract any of the big name strikers they were linked with, and it also indicates a potentially season breaking failure by Rodgers to invest enough in a suitable replacement for the star man in Liverpool's line up last season. Balotelli is not, and will not be, a 30 goal a season striker, and Rodger's claim to have aimed for a team capable of scoring from all positions has not come to fruition...yet.

All eyes will be on Liverpool this season, as questions are asked as to Liverpool's ability to follow up last season's magnificent effort. Questions are also already being asked about the future role of talismanic captain Steven Gerrard who is now in the twilight of his career and still looking for the one title he desires above all others. Early indications are that this dream, shared by millions of Liverpool fans, will remain unfulfilled this season. (BM)

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