Terrace Talk: Liverpool - Nothing to fear visiting Anfield these days

That trapdoor under Rodgers will not budge, no matter how many people are stamping on it now.

Bordeaux away was pretty soporific but you can count the number of good European matches at this stage on the trophies in the cabinet of Brendan Rodgers. Yes, I’m starting the insults early.

He’s never really got the hang of rotation. Eight in, eight out, then six back in again doesn’t really work. A bit more subtlety is required.

This is the third autumn he’ll have tried to control the ‘R’ beast. The only season where he didn’t have to, Liverpool went on to almost win the league. Another failure this time around and people may begin to wonder if he’s got what it takes to manage a big club.

A once-big club that doesn’t sweat the small stuff like winning trophies? Well, he’d be tailor-made for one of those. I hope he finds one.

One of the main clues in floundering managerial careers is the flip-flop. Lucas looked on his way out but then gets picked for every (big) game. Sakho looked similarly surplus to requirements but after some supporter whining and a decent performance against Bordeaux a new contract suddenly emerges.

That obviously doesn’t explain the obstinacy with Lovren and one striker upfront, but what’s this? Lovren out and Sturridge rushed back? Could it be even the insufferably self- contained Rodgers is having doubts? It’s a sign of impending apocalypse.

Norwich might even have turned up in cocky mood, like the people in Jaws who went back swimming in the water when they thought they’d caught the proper shark.

I’m not sure why the absence of Luis Suarez makes me reach for ‘dangerous animals with ferocious teeth’ analogies but he did score 12 goals in five games against them. They practically shot out of the tunnel.

And why not? What’s so intimidating about Liverpool anymore? Where has the good football gone?

There was a decent first half against Arsenal and that, frankly, has been it. It’s hard to remember getting up on your feet for anything in the final months of last season either.

The sheer presence of Sturridge got people excited, which is understandable, but it’s not going to happen for him immediately. Apart from a brief period alongside Ings it all looked too forced and a bit of a struggle.

Every attack-minded player Liverpool employ got onto the pitch at some stage, again hinting at that panic which makes desperate men throw all their mud and hope some sticks.

What the hell’s happened to Milner? The effort won’t ever disappear but he just seemed too eager to please half the time, which is weird from someone so experienced. He definitely needs to sort his corners out.

Did we see enough here to believe there’ll be light at the end of the tunnel?

At times, yes. Ings did some good things, so did Firmino briefly, and the nail-biting end-to-end football certainly made a reappearance. If the finishing touch also returns there could be something of substance lying within all this mish-mash.

Coutinho’s back to his bitty worst though, which is good news at least because nobody will be coming in with a big bid for him. Hey, if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

You don’t want to get too crabby because you’ve seen these sieges at the Kop end fail a thousand times, just be glad there was some effort and a lot of chances to win. The margin of error is microscopic at this level.

But it’s the manager’s fourth year in charge. This isn’t a work in progress, this is over €410m spent and you should be getting better at this surely?

The start always looked tricky, but we weren’t counting West Ham and Norwich in that.

Lazarus never made a more unlikely comeback than this.


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