The Fans View

OPINION: Balotelli’s shirt swap is forgivable – plenty of other things less so

Much has been made of Mario Balotelli acquiescing to Pepe's request for a half-time shirt swap.  

It was unwise for Mario to fulfil this request before he had got deep in to the tunnel but in the modern agenda-driven media days it provided a nice fillip for the back page headline writers.  Liverpool's first half capitulation against Madrid had put this event into full focus. In a way it probably suited Brendan Rodgers - filling vital moments of post-match interviews where perhaps more pressing questions could have been asked.

Questions such as:

1. Why after over 2 years in charge, and £63M spent on 8 defenders and a keeper can Liverpool not defend a simple ball into the box?

2. Why was there no top class striker lined up to replace Luis Suarez when you (most likely) knew he was leaving at least 9 months in advance?

3. Under what circumstances did you think it correct to give your keeper, already with question marks over his head, no effective competition for his place?

4. What did you see in Dejan Lovren/Lazar Markovic that made you think it was a good way to spend £20M apiece?

5. What was the thought process in replacing a hard-working, ball-running striker with Mario Balotelli? Was it a vanity project to show you could do something Mourinho and Mancini couldn't?

Brendan Rodgers - taking notes

Brendan Rodgers has had plenty to note this season

The summer influx of players

At the end of this summer's transfer window Brendan Rodgers said that this summer would be the busiest for a while - the large influx of players - mostly in the £10-£20M bracket totally over £110M was necessary:

“I have to bear in mind that these players took us to where we are but we can’t settle on that.

“We came second last year but our idea is to win and that’s why we need to have a squad to handle it and with the extra competition this year, we will need it too. That’s the simple fact of it.

“We have to keep moving. Success last year was getting into the Champions League and only just missing out on the league but we have to look to keep progressing each year.

“I think we have done that and I am really excited with the ones we have brought in with hopefully a few more to come. Then we will have a squad ready to compete on every front.”

So where is this extra competition? Liverpool's two pronged attack last summer was a revelation. So where is that competition this season for our two main strikers? Who are our two main strikers?

Where is the competition for Mignolet - a goalkeeper with a basic inability to catch a ball - preferring instead to punch the ball back into danger around the area or needlessly tip the ball to create Liverpool's nemesis - the corner.

Many fans are now speculating that there at the very least should be some coaching changes at the club - questions are rightly asked about the trio of Rodgers, Pascoe and Marsh to defensively coach a team.  Ultimately the manager takes full responsibility so in the first instance he should be afforded the time to make the necessary personnel changes.  His success last season, no matter how largely you apportion it to Suarez, means he more than deserves the opportunity for a reshuffle.

Liverpool's defensive frailties are unlikely to be corrected until a new goalkeeper is purchased - which alongside a striker or two is now an urgency for the January transfer window.

That may come too late to rescue Liverpool's current Champions League campaign but there is still plenty of time to ensure the reds can have another go next season.

In the meantime let's not get distracted by a foolish shirt-swap at half-time - let's concern ourselves with the mistake of him even getting picked after his half-dozen previous anonymous displays.

5 comments on
OPINION: Balotelli’s shirt swap is forgivable – plenty of other things less so

  1. Liverpool is about WINNERS. I said when they recruited Rogers, ‘What has he won?’ He was fortunate last season that a few punts came off together. Even then the lack of defensive coaching ability was clearly evident. This season, the clarity of the ageing process affecting Gerard and the poor transfer decisions to ‘recruit only kids’ is showing up the shortcomings of the manager.He does not need more money to waste in the transfer market; he needs someone like Hyppia as defensive coach and he needs to clarify his own philosophies on the pitch. He won’t win anything this year, not even respect. So, is Liverpool still about WINNERS Mr. Henry?

    • FSG when they came in said they liked the “Arsenal model” aka…..win sweet fa and fleece the fans to the max… buy cheap and sell on for profit, don’t be affording any sentiment towards the new signings or expecting loyalty see RVP, Fabregas, Nasri, Sagna, Clichy, Cole, Song, Vermalen, Adebayor and Hleb for details. FSG are investors, hopefully they’ll put in a few new seats, tart the club up a bit on the balance sheet and sell on to some guys with the cash that’ll allow us to compete at the real top otherwise we are going to be a stepping stone club for a long time.

  2. The reason we bought Balotelli was that nobody else wanted to come. For £16M it was a gamble worth taking.
    Instead of Carragher sitting there slagging us off and taking Murdoch’s blood-money working for Sky, why doesn’t he come and coach the defence??? Seeing Skrtel sliding into the advertising hoardings whilst Benzema skipped past him was embarrasing. No wonder he was laughing.
    The first goal was ok, but the second one there were TWO men unmarked at the far post and the third Skrtel was trying to shield the ball instead of hoofing it away.
    A proud European record has just been chucked away by thick and spineless players. We didn’t even have to win – it’s a group ffs. You only have to keep it tight then beat the weaker opposition. It was naiive at best.

    And where was the leader on the pitch?????

  3. Rodgers is starting to look like the clown he is,,,I have been saying it over and over saurez saved us time and time last year,,he assisted sturridges goals the guy was world class,when we let in 2 goals saurez and co would score 3. Steven gerrard is finished if he can’t play in his normal role bench him,,markovic is a complete joke waste of money ,,,can May come good,,lovern balotelli manqullio,Moreno lambert just aren’t good enough,,lallana looks half descent ,,What Rodgers has done is ripped up a team that came second in the league lost a world class player and instead of investing at least half of saurezs money on a player like Bezema or cavani,,he buys eight light weight average players because we need a bigger squad for more competitions lol, Rodgers will be fired before next summer ,,for having wasted 150 million ,,having put gerrard before lfc ,,having the stupidness to buy balotelli, having got rid of kelly and agger for worst,,,,,,

    • Wait, what?!
      Did you seriously try to say Moreno isn’t good enough? I’m assuming you haven’t actually seen him ever play, or realise why he’s one of the highest rated young left-backs in Europe, then…

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