With Liverpool's ineffectiveness in the final third against West Bromwich Albion and the slumping, disinterested play that followed Agger's sending off—with captain Steven Gerrard perhaps the worst culprit, ending a match he started by misplacing overly-ambitious passes as though he could hardly be bothered—it's not a huge stretch to suggest the club suffered its worst Premier League defeat since a crushing loss at the hands of Tottenham last autumn under Kenny Dalglish. It was Rodgers' first Premier League match in charge, and judging the manager too harshly on the weight of one bad game would be the height of foolishness, but attempting to completely ignore the ignominy of this whimpering defeat would be equally misguided.
It was a bad, bad day for Liverpool. That cannot be glossed over. The 3-0 scoreline, their worst opening day result since a 6-1 thumping by Chelsea way back in 1937, says so. That Joe Allen, a Liverpool player for a week who had never played a match with his new teammates, was Liverpool's best for a solid but unspectacular display while Gerrard, Fabio Borini, Stewart Downing, and the entire backline all had games that could variously be described as running the gamut from poor to atrocious says so. All of which makes it mildly disturbing to hear Rodgers warning fans they should expect more games like Saturday's moving forward.
"There is a big job to do and we will have more days like this along the way," was his take on the matter following Saturday's loss. "That is the reality of it. It is still a work in progress. There will be days along the way that will hurt and it will be difficult for us. It is going to take time."
Time is one thing, and certainly those following the club need to accept there will be growing pains and that Liverpool is a long way from where they were five years ago. And Rodgers is right to downplay expectations as, brief pre-season buzzes of anticipation aside, it is a very big job faced by the club. Still, there are few excuses for a match—for so many performances across the board—quite so crushingly poor as the one on Saturday, and downplaying expectations to the point of suggesting it's likely there will be more games like it could be a dangerous opening day gambit for Rodgers. Liverpool may be a work in progress, but even considering their current standing and the difficult road ahead there should not be many more like Saturday.