Why is Brendan Rodgers back under pressure at Liverpool?
Published 24/09/2015 | 11:50
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is coming under increasing scrutiny having gone six matches without a win in 90 minutes.
Scraping past League Two Carlisle on penalties in the Capital One Cup has not eased the pressure and Press Association Sport looks at the issues facing the Reds boss.
Liverpool have not scored more than once in a match so far this season and have found the net twice in a game just two times in 21 matches stretching back to March 8. The return to fitness of Daniel Sturridge should help and the form of Danny Ings, with two in two, offers some hope.
Last season they conceded 48 goals in the Premier League, which included the 6-1 defeat at Stoke. This campaign began promisingly with three successive clean sheets but they have conceded in the last five, with West Ham putting three past them at Anfield. Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren are not a commanding centre-back pairing and the latter - now injured - lost his place to Mamadou Sakho.
Sturridge's hip injury meant Rodgers was denied his best striker for the start of the season and it will take a while for the England international to get back up to speed. A hamstring strain to Christian Benteke, the man brought in to ease the burden on Sturridge, will prevent Rodgers pairing the two together for another couple of weeks. An operation on a broken foot, after an unassociated heel problem, has sidelined captain Jordan Henderson and denied the team some much-needed energy in midfield. Midfielder Joe Allen missed the first seven weeks of the season and Adam Lallana was sidelined for a month.
Rodgers began the campaign setting up 4-3-3 but played youngster Joe Gomez out of position at left-back and has not given £29million summer signing Roberto Firmino a run in his preferred position off the striker. Has switched to 3-4-1-2 - as he did last December - and dropped Gomez for the more experienced Mamadou Sakho and moved Emre Can into the back three. Still doesn't appear to know his best team or formation.
Benteke, at £32.5million, has yet to really show what he can do, James Milner has disappointed as the senior professional in midfield, Firmino is still trying to adapt to a new country and style and 20-year-old striker Divock Origi looks out of his depth. Gomez has done as well as can be expected playing in an unfamiliar position. Right-back Nathaniel Clyne and forward Danny Ings are the two summer arrivals to shine so far. Of those that remain from last year's transfer window Lallana, Can and Lovren have still not made their mark on the team while Alberto Moreno's form is sporadic.