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What a difference a year makes to Rodgers' grand Anfield designs

This time last year, my hope for the short term was that Liverpool would set off on a winning streak which would prove that the relentlessly positive message from Brendan Rodgers had some substance.

The Christmas fixture list threw them in against Chelsea and Manchester City and while the results were not ideal, the performances in those games showed everyone that Liverpool meant business.

Now, I'm not sure what to wish for. A few new players in this transfer window would be good but I'm not holding my breath.

Liverpool delivered for Rodgers and the fans in January and February last season. So much so that everyone was forced to suspend disbelief and row in behind Liverpool's unlikely drive towards the title.

Now, the best I could hope for is that Liverpool would end up nibbling at fourth place. As I said last week, I think that is beyond this team now.

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I also believe that the kind of fantastic, free scoring run inspired by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge is all but impossible.

Liverpool meet Swansea tonight and I have no confidence that Rodgers can tag on another festive fixture programme win after just about putting Burnley away on St Stephen's Day.

In fact, I'm more than a bit worried that Swansea will simply re-establish the pattern which settled in almost from the start of the current campaign and win, throwing Rodgers and Liverpool back into the pits of despair.

I'm also worried that John Henry will not loosen the purse strings to find some credible footballers to replace the men who have let him down since they were bought at great expense during the summer.

From Rodgers' own words in the last few weeks, Mario Balotelli (pictured) will still be at the club by the time the window closes in four weeks and that tells me that the manager has been told to make do with what he has until the summer comes.

I am absolutely certain at this stage that everyone in the Liverpool squad would prefer to see him go. It is a credit to the Liverpool squad that very little of the bad feeling which I believe exists towards Balotelli has leaked out.

I have no doubt that there is bad feeling towards him. I have no doubt that there are men in Rodgers' squad who look at this highly paid misfit on the training pitch and wonder why he is on the big bucks and probably much more than they are getting. This is simply human nature and in this case I would reckon, completely understandable.

They wouldn't be normal if they didn't feel resentment toward someone in a group dynamic who shows no interest in contributing anything more than negativity.

You would also have to think that if Rodgers' has been told to make do with what he has, his position is anything but solid. If no new talent, particularly up front, arrives in the next few weeks, I think we will all reach our own conclusions and, personally, I believe that would be a signal that Henry is looking to replace Rodgers during the summer.

There is, of course, the possibility that Henry and Rodgers still get on well enough to mark Liverpool's current circumstances down as a season to forget and move on with some high profile signings in June and July. The now infamous transfer committee must take some responsibility for the mess Rodgers finds himself in but, let's be honest, the whole point of a manager in these circumstances is for the owner to have someone to blame when things go wrong.


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