Liverpool seem to be in some form of a crisis this week. There have been worrying and depressing developments such as alleged stupidity from Mario Balotelli, unnecessary furore surrounding the swapping of shirts, the biggest home defeat of the Brendan Rodgers era, Victor Valdes effectively joining
Liverpool Manchester United, and Rodgers ruling out the sensible addition of a defensive coach. Defending? Defending you say? That's just a worrying and depressing continuation of affairs friend.
A defensive midfielder of some sort of acceptable mobility, positional sense, and tactical awareness would help. What of Rodgers' preferred central defensive spine of Simon Mignolet, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, and Steven Gerrard? There's fragility and adding two young but talented fullbacks can add to defensive susceptibility. Maybe coaching time will help, but it's the same problems. Actually, Liverpool have regressed in some aspects. The progress made on both attacking and defending set pieces in 2013/14 has all but disappeared. The only hope is that greater cohesion will come in time with a number of new faces featuring in the defence and a wise decision may be made on who should screen the back four.
Digression aside, Liverpool are in a somewhat acceptable position in all competitions. For now. Swansea visit Anfield early next week in the League Cup, the top four is hardly a distant reality as it stands with a winnable home match against Hull tomorrow, and only Real Madrid are out of sight in Liverpool's Champions League group. This is not a completely perilous situation given the large number of signings in the summer transfer window and should performances improve from the senior signings in the next few months, Liverpool should remain in a similar position heading into the New Year. Combine this hopeful prospect with the return of Daniel Sturridge to force slight smiles from Liverpool supporting curmudgeons everywhere.
The greatest source of calm should be found in the failings of others. This may have been repeated a number of times by those possessed of superior wisdom and experience, yet it continues to be one of the most compelling reasons for calm and patience during these mediocre months. Manchester United didn't have enough to best West Bromwich Albion and lack conviction in various aspects of defending. Players of noted talent and repute such as Juan Mata and Radamel Falcao have yet to shine this season. Arsenal were horrendous against Anderlecht and the final score will not fool anyone who watched the game, Arsène Wenger's side were as open as they were against Borussia Dortmund. Everton are currently somewhat off the pace in the Premier League but more impressive in the Europa League. Tottenham Hotspur also display a capability in Europe's second competition that's lacking in the Premier League thus far.
It should not be forgotten that while Liverpool's schedule has become cluttered by progressing in the League Cup in a spectacular penalty shoot-out against modest opponents, Louis van Gaal's side was hammered by MK Dons. Arsenal were defeated at home by Ronald Koeman's impressive Southampton side and Everton were bested by three goals against a clinical Swansea City. Only Tottenham will join Liverpool in next week's fourth round Capital One Cup matches after a 3-1 home win against Nottingham Forest in the previous round. Unconvincing displays are everywhere.
Back to the subject of the defence. Liverpool's defence has been poor in the Premier League and even the most optimistic supporters of the five times Champions League winners would acceded to that fact. However, Everton have conceded four more goals than Liverpool, Manchester United's shambolic offerings match Liverpool's, and the North London clubs have only conceded a goal less than the Brendan Rodgers' group. It seems all these sides need to improve and frankly, Steve Clarke's phone should be inundated with texts and voicemails from all the aforementioned defensive dummies.
It is the lack of quality elsewhere at this early stage of the season that should give the most dissatisfied supporters a reason wait and see what transpires. If commonly accepted notions such as patience and lessons from the past aren't compelling enough at this stage of the season, just take a look around.