With only two points earned from their first four Premier League matches, there's been plenty of disappointment about the way Liverpool's season has started. Certainly reasons for encouragement and optimism, but those promising glimpses don't change the fact that the results simply haven't been good enough for a side that's aspiring to make a return to the top four on a regular basis.
Brendan Rodgers has been vocal about his pleasure with how the squad's been performing despite the slow start points-wise, and whether it's an effort to rally his squad and the supporters or what he actually believes, the manager's consistent in his assertions that Liverpool are, at times, playing very good football:
"We've been simmering really, our performance levels have been excellent in parts of the games...the confidence is fine. I see the players every day on the field, working with them as individuals and as a group. Their quality is undoubted, absolutely undoubted. But we want to get a win, move us on and keep us moving forward. In terms of their output and what they've given, it's been fantastic. As the season goes on, we will get better and better and better."
Looking back at each of the four results, it's easy to pick out the parts to which Rodgers refers--opening forty minutes against West Brom, much of the match against City, early against Arsenal, and, yet again, early against Sunderland, with a late surge around the time of the equalizer. Dominating possession, creating chances, looking as though it's only a matter of time before a goal comes.
But as has so often been the case over the past few seasons, parts aren't always enough, and rare are the occasions that we see Liverpool piece together enough of those parts. A perfect ninety is a pipe dream, and that's never the goal. Finding out how to consistently assemble the necessary parts should be, though, and with Manchester United visiting Anfield in two days' time, that's going to be required in order for Liverpool to get their first win of the season.