Liverpool Focus – Rodgers facing tough task 10 games in

Played 10, won two. That is Brendan Rodgers’ current record in the Premier League as Liverpool’s manager. Even Wigan Athletic have recorded more victories so far this term. In fact, only the current bottom three, Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton, and both Sunderland and Stoke City have won fewer games. Is 11 points from 10 games a good enough return for the Anfield outfit?

Many – both neutrals and supporters – would suggest not. The Reds are now more than a quarter of the way through the league campaign and already six points behind fourth-place Everton. Six points may not sound like a huge amount, but it is more than half the number of points Liverpool have collected already. Though there is plenty of time for Rodgers’ side to recover, the table suggests that plenty more will have to be done in the background if Liverpool are to catch their bitter city rivals.

The Reds’ performances have been more than satisfactory. The display against a Newcastle side that finished above the Merseysiders last term was very good. But there is a growing sense that, just like last season, these performances are not being rewarded with the points they deserve. Another similarity to the last campaign is that Liverpool are simply not scoring enough goals.

Uruguayan star Luis Suarez may have found the net on an impressive seven occasions in the opening 10 games, but his team on the whole have scored just 13 times. In comparison, leaders Manchester United have scored twice as many goals, fourth-place Everton have found the net 19 times and even Martin Jol’s Fulham have managed to record 21 strikes. But it is not all about scoring goals.

Arsenal have struck only 15 times this season, but they have been superb defensively, conceding just eight. Liverpool have allowed the opposition to score 15 times – almost twice as many as the Gunners. Perhaps an exceptional defensive record would see the Reds higher up the league, but as it stands, an average showing in front of goal coupled with an average record at the back is keeping Liverpool firmly in the middle of the table.

Liverpool’s lack of strikers is a key issue which should be addressed in January, but until then there is very little Rodgers has to work with to improve this area of Liverpool’s game. The former Swansea boss can only hope that his midfielders, such as young Jonjo Shelvey who missed a couple of good opportunities against the Magpies, chip in with more goals.

However, he has also been unfortunate in terms of injuries at the back. Glen Johnson, now a key player for Liverpool, has recently been missing through injury. Before that, Jose Enrique was not fully fit. Martin Kelly will be out for a number of weeks. If Rodgers can get his first-choice back four fit and ready, there is an opportunity for the Reds to improve their defensive performance. The Liverpool boss faces a huge task to get his side back to where they belong.

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