Mersey Review: Everton and Liverpool Fans on the 2014/15 Season

Paddy’s View on Liverpool

This Season’s Prediction: 3rd/4th
Actual Position: 6th
Best Signing Prediction: Dejan Lovren or Alberto Moreno
Actual Best Signing: Emre Can
Worst Signing: Dejan Lovren or Mario Balotelli
Best Player: Philippe Coutinho
Worst Player: Dejan Lovren, Mario Balotelli or Rickie Lambert
Biggest Underperfomer: Dejan Lovren (price tag), Mario Balotelli (reputation), Adam Lallana (price tag) or Daniel Sturridge (injury woes)
Best Youth Player: Raheem Sterling
Best Match: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City
Worst Match: Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool
Best Goal: Philippe Coutinho vs Manchester City
Manager Rating: 6 out of 10

Well, what a disappointment this season has been. I never expected us to get very far in the Champions League, but on other fronts I was full of hope. A top four finish and some silverware was the prediction at the start of the year, and Liverpool have fallen short.

In the opinions of fans, pundits, club staff, and no doubt club owners, Liverpool have underperformed this season. It was always going to be a struggle after losing Luis Suarez, but this season has shown just how good a player he really was. Last season’s title challenge was almost single-handedly his own doing and without him in the side this year we struggled.

For long periods of the Premier League campaign, Brendan Rodgers seemed confused. Last year he had a blueprint and a style of play, but this year he seemed to throw all that out of the window and attempt to create something new. Gone was the two strikers in attack, gone was the four defenders at the back, gone was the hope and belief that we would finish anywhere near the top of the table.


It is true that injuries to key players forced Rodgers to change the team, but even before that, just by looking at the signings that were made in the summer, it was clear that Liverpool were going to have develop new tactics. Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert were never adequate replacements for Luis Suarez, and when Daniel Sturridge wasn’t fit, the strikers that were left did not succeed in doing their primary job – namely scoring goals. Despite the investment in the summer, Everton’s defence scored more goals than Liverpool’s attack this season.

It was not just in attack that we struggled though; we were fragile across the pitch. Our full backs performed poorly whoever was placed there, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho fill me with dread every time they receive the ball, and the less said about Dejan Lovren the better. Our defence was outclassed and outmuscled against such world beaters as Crystal Palace, West Ham United, and Queens Park Rangers.

In midfield, Rodgers was constantly blinded by his love of Joe Allen and his sentimentality towards Steven Gerrard. After the disappointment of last season, and a poor World Cup, it seems this year was a bridge too far for Gerrard, and as Jose Mourinho did with Frank Lampard, Rodgers should have recognised this. It is awful that such an icon had to leave the club in this manner, he deserved better than a 6-1 hammering by Stoke City. Nevertheless, the facts don’t lie.

Liverpool stats 2014/15

As seems to be Rodgers’ habit, we did have an outstanding run of form in the second half of the season. After the 3-0 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford, we then went on a 13 game unbeaten streak before losing to the Red Devils again at Anfield. It is form like that which shows what the team is capable of, and which exacerbates the frustration of Kopites. We know that we are able to challenge and beat the best teams in the league, we just do not do it consistently enough.

The highs of that 13 game unbeaten streak were then more than matched by the lows of the end of season collapse. A limp performance against Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi final signaled the beginning of the end and from there we managed to win just five more points from a possible 18 in the league. Drawing to West Brom and Chelsea, and losing to Hull, Crystal Palace, and Stoke. Fourth spot could easily have been ours, but it seems we gave up.

I am very much undecided on the short-term future of Liverpool, I am not sure what my preference is and I don’t know what is to come. It has been well documented that Rodgers is the first Liverpool manager since the 1950’s not to win a trophy in his first three seasons at Anfield, and this comes after spending a combined £220m in transfers. Unfortunately, more investment is needed in the side and following the recent flops I am not sure the owners are too excited about shelling out another £100m this summer.

Jurgen Klopp seems the most likely candidate to take over if Rodgers were to leave the club, and Liverpool could do a lot worse than hiring the German. Some online polls have as many as 89% of Liverpool fans wanting to see Klopp at the helm.

Enough of the speculation though, this is not a glance at the future, but a look at the past, and though up to this point it has been a rather depressing read, there are still some positives to be taken. For one thing Glen Johnson won’t be wearing a Liverpool top again, and another positive is that between the sticks Simon Mignolet has improved no end. The big Belgian ended the season with the joint most clean sheets in the league, joined on 13 by Thibaut Courtois and Joe Hart.

The long term future of the squad doesn’t look too bad either with a host of young players developing and progressing into their best years. Liverpool’s squad has the fourth lowest average age in the league and with Johnson, Gerrard and co moving on this summer the average age will drop again. The eleven that began Liverpool’s 2-0 away victory against Southampton was the second youngest XI that any team fielded this season. Can, Henderson, Coutinho, Ibe, Moreno, and Sterling are the future, just as long as we are able to hang on to them.

I think a cull is necessary to remove the deadweight that has been floating along for a few seasons. The summer is not going to be a complete rebuild, but it is certainly going to shake up the dressing room a little. As I mentioned previously Gerrard and Johnson are on their way, Brad Jones, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli, Jose Enrique, Iago Aspas, and Joe Allen can all join them. Hopefully Sterling sees sense and stays, but that is looking unlikely. If he goes and the players above get sold, we should be looking at a transfer kitty of around £100m again.

Paddy Liverpool line-up

A young, commanding centre back is desperately needed and I have opted for Mats Hummels here, although competition for his signature would be fierce. At right back, Nathaniel Clyne has been signed. He is English, young, and has great attacking intent. The exodus of strikers has meant we are left with another void upfront, one which Alexandre Lacazette would fill wonderfully. I very much doubt the Liverpool team to look anything like this come the opening game of next season, but the three positions I have highlighted (centre back, right back, and striker) are the areas in need of most attention. Let’s see what the summer brings.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.