OpinionJohn Aldridge

Rodgers has to be given the time he needs

John AldridgeBy John Aldridge
Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

IT IS easy for Liverpool fans to hit the panic button after the performances of the last few weeks – yet this is not the moment to be calling for a change of manager.

Liverpool’s owners opted to stick with Brendan Rodgers last summer and they now have to give him time to find a balance in his team.

That said, supporters are entitled to question the apparent lack of cohesion in the side.

Whoever signs off on the transfers at Liverpool has paid out more than £184m to sign 15 players and the question I would ask is this; where is the structure in the team?

There has always been some doubt whether Rodgers has control of the players coming into the club, but I look at the squad he is working with now and the balance of this group of players looks wrong to me.

They have signed Christian Benteke for a lot of money and not bought the kind of players they need to give him the service he would thrive on.

Why was Roberto Firmino brought in when Liverpool already have players of his ilk in Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana? All three can’t fit in the same team.

This imbalance means Rodgers was forced to be inventive with his selection against United last weekend.

As we all know, his plan backfired horribly.

Brendan wanted to get Firmino and Danny Ings into his team, so he tried to use them in wide positions.

Well, the duo didn’t look comfortable out there, they didn’t get balls into the box and Liverpool didn’t have enough bodies in the area to trouble United.

The Reds were very poor in the one game when the supporters want them to be at their best and Rodgers may struggle to solve the problem with the personnel he has in his squad.

Top managers tend to succeed when a solid plan is put in place, but I question whether the players Liverpool have signed in the last year fit into a jigsaw that could produce a successful team.

I recall when I arrived at Liverpool back in January 1987 and didn’t get into the team a whole lot for what was rest of my first season at the club.

It inspired me to go a chat to manager Kenny Dalglish and ask him why he had signed me if he wasn’t going to use me on the pitch.

Kenny very calmly told me to sit tight, wait for the start of the following season and assured me that a structure was going to be built into the team that would help me to score goals.

John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and Ray Houghton were added to the squad and with them came width. That meant I got the service that allowed me to score 60 goals over the next two seasons.

It was a sign of a manager who had a rock solid plan, who knew he needed to build a team around a new striker that had different strengths to Ian Rush, who moved on to Juventus that summer.

The success Liverpool enjoyed after that confirmed that Dalglish was a manager who had a great grasp of how to build a winning team and right now, I share the concerns of the club’s fans who are suggesting the current set-up is lacking a little direction.

It may be that Liverpool need to grind out some results in the next few weeks to get back on track, with Rodgers hoping he comes up with a plan that gets all of his best players into the same line-up within a winning set-up.

We need to see more width down the flanks coming from the two full-backs and there is a necessity to change the attacking approach to get the best out of Benteke, who I have felt sorry for up front on his own in the last couple of matches.

Liverpool have a succession of home games coming up now in three different competitions and that gives them a real chance to get back on track after a difficult couple of weeks.

Aldo's comments were backed up by another Anfield great, as Jamie Carragher suggested Rodgers was running out of time to prove his critics wrong: