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Pitch, Please: Rodgers Says Anfield Grass Affects Liverpool's Preferred Playing Style

Brendan Rodgers has joined the likes of Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola in finding an unsuspecting culprit for some of the failures in Liverpool's recent play: the pitch.

The unassuming surface of what relegation looks like, probably.
The unassuming surface of what relegation looks like, probably.
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Lots of people have dedicated lots of time to trying to nail down a precise cause for Liverpool's poor results so far this season. Some muse that losing two top goal scorers, one to another team and one to injury, puts a damper on a team's ability to score. Others point out that a shaky defense that seems unable to do anything but hemorrhage goals will have trouble eking out crucial 1-0 wins. Then there's the "why not both" crowd, who, indeed, suggest that it's both the offensive sluggishness and defensive frailties that are working in tandem to bring the club down.

Wherever the truth lies, few have suggested it has much to do with anything other than the players or the management itself. Taking a page from the Arsene Wenger Book of Losing Gracefully, Brendan Rodgers has added another theory to the pile: the pitch at Anfield just can't support the quality of football Rodgers would like to see Liverpool play.

"We will be getting a new pitch next summer to help the speed of our game," revealed the manager. "It is an old pitch that has not been upgraded for some years and it can be a disadvantage for us. It is difficult to play one-touch football on it. It is nothing to do with the ground staff at the club or at Melwood, who are outstanding, it is just because the pitch is old. We will do the best on it until the end of the season."

Rodgers isn't necessarily wrong that the pitch might be affecting Liverpool's games; many clubs have used the pitch as a twelfth man in the past, ensuring that they water it enough (or not enough) to keep it slick (or dry) in accordance with what kinds of passes the team likes to play. Barcelona once even filed a complaint with UEFA over the under-watered state of the San Siro's pitch during a Champions League match against AC Milan that evidently affected their ability to score.

It's certainly not the first time a manager has complained about the quality of a pitch affecting his team's game, but it might be the first time one has complained about the pitch at his home stadium where presumably he has a bit more control over it. Hopefully it's a case of Rodgers redirecting some blame away from his players and on to an inanimate object, rather than a genuine belief that the pitch is affecting his team's game to the degree being implied.

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