There are many reasons to be concerned about Liverpool's season, Daniel Sturridge's recurring injury problems chief among them. There are also many reasons to feel slightly hopeful about Liverpool's season, but that's not as fun to talk about and doesn't create nearly as much discussion as highlighting the ways in which Liverpool have set themselves up to repeat the 2009-2010 campaign that saw Rafa Benitez driven out of town and Roy Hodgson appointed manager.
So maybe I'm saying Hodgson ends up Liverpool manager in July, or maybe I'm saying it's awfully early to be talking about what any of the club's early season performances mean, especially with a squad depleted by injuries and a manager who's proven capable of improving his sides over the course of a season.
That manager would not be Hodgson, thankfully. Brendan Rodgers isn't pleased with his squad's start to the 2014-2015 campaign, but there's also no reason for panic:
"I'm quite relaxed. I said the same last year - we'll look at it after 10 games and see where we sit. If Phil Jagielka doesn't score a world-class goal [in September's Merseyside derby], then we're two points better off and in the top four. At this point in time, it's just about looking at our performance level and looking to improve that.
"We know we'll get better as the season goes on. There's certainly no crisis. We lost a world-class player in the summer and we brought in a lot of players, and that just takes time to gel. Of course, with less training time to coach the players, you are going straight into the games. But the players here are absolutely magnificent; the attitude and energy that they show here, and their thirst to want to be better, is what gives me the hope that we can really push on."
Losing Sturridge for at least two more weeks certainly does the third-year manager no favors, but he and his squad should be set up to be more competitive--or at least have more players available--during a stretch that will determine Liverpool's fate in the Champions League and will likely go a good ways in settling their domestic future as well. And for all his optimism, he'll still have to figure out how to get his stuttering attack to work despite being largely left with the same personnel given Sturridge's absence, and no matter who's fit, Liverpool are going to have to get back in goalscoring form if they're going to be relevant in any competition this season.