What a difference two games can make in the league. For Chelsea, it was four points, seeing them sit pretty on top of the logs. For Manchester City it was six points from six, ensuring their grip on third place as they chase down the Gunners to finish as runners up. For Manchester United, they came back empty-handed in two outings, eliminating themselves from a late and unlikely push for the title. And for Liverpool, it was but a point; as a consequence, they have virtually surrendered their much-sought after UEFA Champions League for the next season to United.
While they may have been a hint unfortunate to bag all three points against West Brom in their dire draw that saw them create many chances, they were far off the pace against a spirited Hull City side fighting against the drop.
Liverpool were toothless, despite having the lion’s share of possession. They may have controlled the game, but failed to test Hull City’s resolute defence or goalkeeper. Summer recruits, Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Ricky Lambert all failed to inspire the Reds to a draw, let alone victory, masquerading in the shadows of Liverpool’s star men on the night, Jordon Ibe and Philippe Coutinho.
This is a stark difference from the Liverpool of last season, who may have had some profligate moments in front of goal, but more often than not, racked in goals. From the brink of a historic EPL title to virtually losing out on Europe’s elite competition, Liverpool have sunk low. And what does manager Brendan Rodgers attribute this to?
“You can’t hide away from the fact you’ve lost over 50 goals… Any team who loses that is going to struggle. With (Luis) Suarez and (Daniel) Sturridge we still weren’t tipped for the top four, we were still written off, and having not got them the challenge is greater for us.”
However, the worry may not necessarily stem for the loss of Suarez and the injury-hit season of Sturridge, it is the failure to replace them. Despite having spent surplus to 100 million Pounds, Rodgers failed to bring in one or more prolific strikers capable of finishing off games. His gambles on the juggernaut that is Balotelli and the aging legs of former Kop, Lambert, have yielded no fruits.
And now, another trophyless season and a disappointing league finish raise more questions than answers; were Rodger’s purchases a failure? Did he overpay for quality sub-par? Must they dip into the transfer market again to right their wrongs? Will he provide Liverpool with mental steel that will see them last the distance? Is he really the man for Liverpool?
Only time will tell.