If anyone was set up this weekend for a big fall, it was Brendan Rodgers. On Friday, he spoke of his team’s chances of achieving a top two finish.
Though he did not explicit state that Liverpool had the quality to challenge for the league, he used the euphemistic phrase: “We are eleven points off second and that can all turn around very quickly”.
It was almost inevitable that Aston Villa would produce a brilliant display to embarrass Rodgers and his players. The away side fielded the youngest eleven the Premier League has seen so far this season, the average age being 23 years.
Despite their inexperience, Villa played with little fear in a classic smash-and-grab win. They managed only six shots on target compared to Liverpool’s 17 as the home side enjoyed 61% of play.
However, Christian Benteke and co. can teach Liverpool’s strikers a thing or two about efficiency. The young Belgian scored with two of his three chances, and laid-off Andreas Weimann with an excellent back-heel for Villa’s second goal.
On the other hand, Luis Suarez, who by all accounts is having a good season so far, only managed to fire two of his seven shots on target. The Uruguayan was also guilty of causing Villa’s first goal by attempting to beat his opponent with a casual Cruyff turn before losing possession and failing to track-back.
The home defeat will undoubtedly serve as a wake-up call for Brendan Rodgers. Previous to Saturday’s result, his side had won two Premier League games on the bounce; that does not provide grounds for top-four mutterings.
Rodgers can take solace in the fact that there is a small group of players within his squad that can propel them to a top-four finish providing that money can be spent on quality signings in January to enhance their chances.
How much money is needed for Rodgers to turn it around?
image: © strabanephotos