For one that contributes a lot of thought and opinion on football through social media, I've been told by some that writing a thought-piece blog might be a good idea. That it might help cement some of my views, open up a forum for those views to be shared by others. It might also help me get it all out of my system a bit more. So I procrastinate no longer, and here is my blog.
But if procrastination in the transfer market might be a criticism levelled against Liverpool and Brendan Rogers earlier in the season with the Carroll/Dempsey debacle, it could also be said that criticism of the Northern Irishman's team selections and decisions of late (particularly versus Oldham in the FA Cup and the baffling immediacy of the 2 substitutions against Zenit last week) were well founded given some otherwise expansive recent performances and solid results. But now with 2 recent cup exits, what lies ahead for the Liverpool manager and what can be salvaged from a promising but inconsistent first season?
The manner in which Liverpool relinquished their chance of FA Cup and Europa League silverware for 2013 were in the end, rather tepid. Oldham continually outfought and out thought their Premier League opponents leaving doubts about the quality of Liverpool's performers on the day, particularly rookie defenders Sebastian Coates and local youngster Jack Robinson - neither of which has since had a look in - the reds offering nothing more than a whimper in defeat. And while last week's cup defeat to Zenit was an altogether different affair with the Reds offering a much improved attacking display, inspired by Uruguayan Luis Suarez amidst the familiar European atmosphere of Anfield, questions have now started to be asked.
While Robinson and Coates were early casualties in the managers early season squad re-organisation, Rodgers has now turned his attention on both Martin Skrtel and young England midfielder, Jonjo Shelvey - the latter scheduled to go out on loan to Stoke, although it appears Skrtel's days appear numbered at Anfied amidst negative comments about Skrtel's Northern Irish manager. It appears that Rodgers early season optimism and pragmatism has given way to a more ‘hands –on’, decisive management of his squad.
Despite a fluidity that has reappeared in Liverpool's play this season, Rodgers will know that these late season cup defeats have proved costly and will have learned a lot about the quality of his charges in his first season at the helm, which have had it's moments of quality and optimism, but ultimately proved frustrating.
The second half substitutions of Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson against Zenit appeared hurried with both players having been influential, the former scrapping home Liverpool's second and Henderson's contribution proving incisive setting up Suarez's sharply taken free kick for the home team's equaliser. The soon to be departing Jamie Carragher had earlier made an awkward error that led to Brazilian Hulk opening the scoring for the Russian team. Carragher who has made more appearances than any other for the Anfield club was making his final European outing and will now be hoping for better for the remainder of a largely fruitless and frustrating season.
Liverpool were back to their exciting best yesterday against Wigan in this topsy-turvy season. Suarez again playing the lead role against a weak Latics back line.
The true test in their efforts to finish in a European spot now depend on beating top six opposition, something they haven’t achieved this season, with a resurgent Tottenham up next at Anfield.