The grass isn’t always greener on the other side but when the other side is Real Madrid you can rest assured that the grass is certainly greener. With this in mind, the La Liga and World Champions’ suspected interest in Raheem Sterling will come as a blow to Brendan Rodgers plans to turn the nearly men of last season into genuine title contenders. Of course such interest is tomorrows chip paper at present and Liverpool have bigger issues to contend with at the moment;namely the task of over turning a run of results that has left the reds stranded in fourteenth place.

The lure of Champions League football was meant to deter Luis Suarez from departing Anfield but it couldn’t. This time around Sterling and Liverpool are playing European football but they will need to vastly improve on the performance against Basel if they are to progress to the latter stages of the competition. On this occasion the Swiss were the better side and ran out one nil victors to the disappointment of  Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain said ”We didn’t deserve anything out of this game”. ”We were too soft all over the pitch and I though they wanted it more”.

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Growing up a Liverpool fan, Steven Gerrard will understand more than most the quote above and he will want to amend the frailties that are holding back the Anfield club.  Uruguyan striker Luis Suarez was a genious that was irreplacable for Liverpool. The same could be said of his replacement although Mario Balotelli is unique and doesn’t have the same movement that Suarez possessed. This isn’t to say he isn’t a team player as his assist for Sergio Aguero to win Man City the title illustrates. This doesn’t come naturally for him though and he must emmerse himself in the football philosophy of Brendan Rodgers Liverpool. He must offer an outlet for the  free flowing runs of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. He should try and inhabit the six yard box as if his life depends on it and reap the rewards of the coyote running of the payers around him.

On the weekend Liverpool will host West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League knowing that it is a game they are expected to win. Since a 3-0 rout at Tottenham, they have lost to Aston Villa Ludo Razgd, West Ham and Basel and drew with Middlesborough and Everton.  It is fair to say that Brendan needs the victory as much as Liverpool do because doubters are emerging on message boards. Silencing said defectors won’t be top of his agenda but John Henry is a man he will want to impress. Spending in excess of £110 million has heightened expectation. Expectation that is also magnified by the surge to prominence in the title race last term. It is important to notify that £75 million of this came courtesy of a certain Uruguyan’s move to Barcelona.

Anonymous Anchorman

The age old adage that you must build from the back looked to have been accounted for in the summer in line with Dejan Lovren’s arrival. That said, the lack of a proven defensive midfielder  is undoing Liverpool. They look fragile when teams attack and Can’s first team berth hasn’t materialised. Subsequently Steven Gerrard has had to carry the midfield’s workload and he simply doesn’t have the legs to recover as he might of as a eighteen year old rooky.

At the back, Martin Skrtel looks to have the composure of an elephant in a china shop and always prone to an error while the spanish full backs are learning for a team that needs proven players in the team. My hunch is that they will add another defender in January and rue the sale of Daniel Agger to Brondby. The tattoo Leiden centre back was the best at Liverpool in my opinion and it was a shame to see him leaving the Premier League.

Add to this the predicament of facilitating Mario Balotelli into the team and the unbalance of the squad becomes crystal clear. He will be a success given time and Rodgers is the perfect person to nurture his talent. Just look at Jordan Henderson’s improvement from bit part player to ball spraying box to box midfielder.

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Given The Push

Rodgers hasn’t always seen success in his managerial career and was sacked during a spell with Reading. In a candid interview he responded to the question of what his success is by saying ”The word for me is failure. ”That’s how you succeed”. He went on to say, ”For the first time in my life I felt I’d failed at Reading”. ”I probably read the script wrong, thinking I had three years but instead I had 20 games”.

‘So I had a choice. I either disappeared to become an Academy director, where I’d been for 14 years. Or I could show character, perseverance and go again. Thankfully I was able to do that. I certainly have not had it presented to me. I found out the hard way. That fear of failure is what drives me on.’

‘My first thought after I was sacked was to ring the family to make sure they knew first,’ said Rodgers. ‘My objective then, because it was the first time in my life I was out of work, was to make sure it did not spoil Christmas for my family.

‘After that, I went to Dubai to reflect for 10 days and started to write in the sunshine about my experience; how it could have been different. What I could improve. What I should take into my next job.

‘My first thought after I was sacked was to ring the family to make sure they knew first,’ said Rodgers. ‘My objective then, because it was the first time in my life I was out of work, was to make sure it did not spoil Christmas for my family.

‘After that, I went to Dubai to reflect for 10 days and started to write in the sunshine about my experience; how it could have been different. What I could improve. What I should take into my next job.

‘Then my mother died. So now I had the two biggest voids in my life — the loss of my mother and football. I was recovering mentally and decided to go to the gym, get fit and then start writing to a few clubs to see if I could get a job, or even an interview for a job. I didn’t get anything.’

‘When I didn’t get an interview (I thought) my managerial career was over before it had started,’ said Rodgers. ‘Then I got a call from City and I thought I’d probably have to go in the coaching game again for a couple of years to get my name back.

‘But it all worked out one day when I was sitting in McDonald’s (in July 2010) with my two children. I got a call saying Swansea were keen to speak to me. On the Friday of that week, I became manager of Swansea.’

Rodgers will overcome this barren run and do so with hard work and a belief in the principles that got him out of unemployment. He has a long term plan for Liverpool but will also be aware that in football management you are only as good as your last results.

 Win In The Bag

Ousting West Brom by a single goal is an improvement, no question, but the hosts must carry this and get a run going. It was good to see Lallana score in such a tight area and show that he can lift a Liverpool side that has looked indifferent in terms of creativity.