When your club follows up once of its best seasons in many of the players' lifetimes with one of the worst starts in its history, there will be questions. Questions about morale; about dressing room unrest. Today, Brendan Rodgers had to deal with some of those questions at his pre-match press conference.
"Our dressing room is still very strong," insisted the manager, denying rumours of a potential split amongst the club's playing staff. "We are fortunate in that we have a captain who is a very strong leader in that dressing room. That's been important in my time here. So I have heard one or two whispers about unrest, but it's totally untrue.
"We aren't happy we aren't winning games. These are competitive players, a lot of whom nearly won the league. They are a competitive group and they aren't happy losing, but the actual spirit in the group is very strong. That's the reason I believe that once we get that confidence back through winning games, we'll be much better in the second half of the season."
Aside from Arsenal on the weekend, the final four matches of the season at least appear to be ones Liverpool should be able to win. If the goal is regaining confidence, Bournemouth in the League Cup on Wednesday night will have to be targeted as a must-win match. Then, following Arsenal, Liverpool face Burnley and Swansea in the league.
They kick off January against Leicester in the league, Wimbledon in the FA Cup, then Sunderland, Aston Villa, and West Ham. That's a stretch last season's side would have, bar Arsenal, been expected to take maximum points from. If the club is to have a stronger second half, if it's to rebound from its dire autumn, they will need that now.
"At the moment, I'm only looking at the next game," said Rodgers. "That's something I've always done through my time here—the next game is the most important. Of course we've got a big came coming on the weekend after that, but the idea is to go into Wednesday night to win and I will be picking the best team I can to do that."
As for who could be on that team, aside from Mario Balotelli's lingering groin issues that are keeping him from full fitness, there are no new injury issues to report following Sunday's 3-0 loss to Manchester United, meaning Rodgers will have the same options available to him.
Update: Glen Johnson has been confirmed as unavailable—and likely to be out until January at the earliest—following his groin injury suffered against United in the first half of that match.