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23rd Oct 2015

Liverpool fans beginning to realise poor results not all because of Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool players need to start taking responsibility


Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

It’s two games in, just 180 minutes of football so this is no rush to judge.

Liverpool fans have barely got their bums warm watching the revolution they so looked forward to under Jurgen Klopp, but if they were expecting a full turn of the wheel in how the team plays, then the German has hardly got to the first cog yet.

Any trace of Brendan Rodgers’s visible presence has been removed from around Anfield and Melwood since his departure earlier this month, but the ghost of the Northern Irishman, and his failures, are likely to stalk the Liverpool dressing room for weeks and months to come.

It’s a sign of how bulletproof a new manager is when there is little or no murmurings after a 1-1 draw at Anfield against a team that was down to ten men for an entire half.

Imagine if Rodgers had seen his side yet again concede first, then equalise, have 35 shots on target, but fail to win.

The January transfer window is just over two months away, but Klopp is likely to be already praying for money and resources to try and bolster his squad.

A bad tradesman may blame his tools, but a good manager cannot work with blunt instruments unfit for purpose.

There is no doubt that Rodgers has left Klopp with a squad as bad as that which Rafa Benitez inherited in 2004. All it is missing is a Bruno Cheyrou and a Salif Diao and it could easily be one of the worst ever.

We may never know what players Rodgers wanted and didn’t want at Anfield but as ever, when a manager gets the sack, the players are absolved of all responsibility.

But no doubt – as Klopp has witnessed in the last two weeks – his squad, and his players, are well below a top four standard.

Mentally weak, they lack a physical edge to match opponents, while it is often left up to individuals to put on tour de force performances to keep the opposition at bay.

Liverpool are not a Klopp team yet because a majority of the players under his control are not players Klopp would ever want to work with.

Making your terrier run after a hare does not make it a greyhound, and Klopp getting his team to run further than opponents is unlikely to make them top-four challengers this season.

Liverpool currently are the polar opposite of what made Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund team so exciting as they pressed and harried and killed off games with ruthless efficiency.

Rodgers’s final team lacked on-field leadership as well as that unpredictable streak that separates good sides from great.

Perhaps Rodgers was too controlling, afraid of what some spontaneity might bring – but he had no control over Suarez during his time at Anfield and so the team flourished.

When tasked with players who had total faith in him, the team was turgid in possession, passing backwards and sideways, hoping that somehow they would crack open an opponent who would almost always score against them.

Klopp may have seen some gradual improvement but on Thursday night the worst of their old faults came back to haunt them once again.

The Rodgers era is over.

The new broom of Klopp was meant to sweep away all the negativity from the club and usher in the era of enlightenment as rushing football took over from ‘death by football’.

But with the same personnel involved for at least the next two months then Klopp will need to try and alter and adapt the players at his disposal to try and make sure results improve.