Brendan Rodgers says 'blame me for Liverpool's problems'. Michael Lintorn says 'no thanks, I'd rather point the finger here...'
"Sturridge hasn’t played for Liverpool since August due to an injury obtained on England duty, Henderson was crocked on the latest break and Sterling hasn’t been as effective since Hodgson brought October’s burnout drama to national attention."
"It's my responsibility as the manager, ultimately," was one of several recent Brendan Rodgers quotes in which he attempted to accept responsibility for Liverpool's dismal start to the season.
They are 12th in the Premier League with 14 points from 12 matches, with Sunday's 1-3 reverse at Crystal Palace their third in a row in the competition, and they have also suffered three successive Champions League defeats to nil.
Though they are somehow still just four points behind Man United in fourth, the Reds have drifted to 5.49/2 to achieve a top-four finish, and it feels slightly surprising that they are odds-on to win their Champions League trip to Ludogorets, who are joint-bottom with them.
However, Rodgers isn't as culpable as he has suggested, with these five worthy of as much blame, if not more...
Liverpool's Transfer Committee
Rodgers has often insisted that he has the final say over who Liverpool recruit, but the club structure forces him to work as part of a needlessly complex transfer committee when finalising incomings and outgoings. Since the system was put in place in 2012, there have only been two undisputed hits: Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, who both arrived in January 2013. Given the struggles of the class of 2014, it seems fair to apportion a generous slice of the accountability to the committee, particularly as they also made the decision to call off the purchase of Loic Remy.
They already had Lionel Messi, Neymar and Pedro Rodriguez and felt flush enough to allow Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas to depart this summer, so did they really need to nab Luis Suarez from Liverpool? He didn't play for Barcelona until late October and hasn't even scored yet. If they hadn't shown interest, the Reds might have been left merely resisting Arsenal's advances once again.
This line is spun by a minority of angry Liverpool fans rather than credible football figures, but there is an argument to be made. Sturridge hasn't played for his employers since August due to an injury obtained on England duty, Jordan Henderson was crocked on the latest international break and Raheem Sterling hasn't been as effective since Hodgson brought October's burnout drama to national attention.
The Saints absolutely hustled Liverpool, making Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert look a million bucks (well, £49 million to be precise) and then using that tower of cash to finance deals for even better footballers. Southampton are now 11 points ahead of the Merseysiders with a game in hand, and the damage would be harsher still had Rodgers' men not nicked a win when they met at Anfield on the opening weekend. The southerners are now the shorter of the pair for a top-four finish at 2.942/1.