Two weeks into the new Premier League season: One win, two losses, five goals scored, six conceded, & three measly points. A start like that is enough to shake the confidence of the stoutest of Liverpool fans. After last seasons flirtation with an EPL title, Liverpool seemed poised to take the last step to the top of English football, thus far it’s been two very big steps back.
In the two losses against Tottenham and Aston Villa, Liverpool lacked cohesion and confidence that has been a trade mark of their football most notably seen in Europe under Rafa. Strong commitment, pressure on the ball, creativity moving up the pitch, and confidence in the back has been lacking. Its usual stars not withstanding, Pool have been bleak. The two most note worthy suspects who would seem to encompass all of Liverpool’s ills are Lucas and Martin Skertel. In three games since taking over for Alonso in the middle of the park, Lucas has tallied up more own goals then Goals scored and assists combined….he also leads the squad in fouls committed, the most notorious of which lead to an immediate own goal of his . Skertel meanwhile he been devoid of any presence in the back, slow of place, heavy touches and lack of positioning has been noticeable. Monday’s loss to Aston Villa however was a team effort, far to many passes were errant, set piece marking was horrendous by all, even Steven Gerrard chipped in with a clumsy challenge that was an easy penalty call.
It’s far too early for Rafa and company to sound the alarm, Liverpool has three very winnable games ahead of them, nine points against Bolton, Burnley, and West Ham would quickly right the ship. But a quick return to the basics is needed, a solidifying of tactics, and some defensive touch ups maybe all that is needed.
The margin for error however is getting smaller by the week.