Liverpool must be ruthless in their clearing of the dead wood
Last January, West Brom came to Anfield and dumped us out of the FA Cup. The 2-3 defeat suffered that night at the hands of the Premier league’s bottom club was a rare low moment of last season.
It was also a very telling and revealing night regarding the state of the squad and the fringe players at our disposal. Liverpool must not make that mistake again this term, and a clearance of the old guard still clogging certain positions will prove to be very important indeed.
Embodying the bad times
Simon Mingolet, Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic remain Liverpool players for now. However the club’s plans of a £100 million summer clear out may finally signal the end of the road for the three out of favour players.
In many ways these players represent the recent, painful years at Liverpool before the arrival of Jurgen Klopp.
The club was getting everything wrong. The story which emerged yesterday, showing how Liverpool turned down a £4 million move for Alisson Becker is a hint at the turmoil and poor decisions being made by Brendan Rodger’s administration.
Unsurprisingly this bled down further into the transfer policy. For every decent signing we managed to make in those years, two poor ones were made.
That kind of ratio is always going to hinder a club trying to progress. So it was, ultimately, the likes of Mingolet or Moreno would switch off at crucial moments and cost us dearly. Forward players like Markovic would flutter around the edges of games without actually influencing anything at all.
Big games stand out, such as the League and Europa League cup finals. Others became so routine, that you became numb to the constant errors. As of December 2017, Mingolet, the then number one choice in the Premier League, was ranked bottom of all top flight keepers in terms of saves per goal. It was a truly damming stat and one which showed further proof, if any was still needed, that the Belgian simply shouldn’t be at the club.
Bizarrely some fans tried to make cases for the likes of Mingolet or Skrtel when he was still there. They would point to a simple save from the keeper as irrufitable evidence of his quality. Moreno would make a run from full back or Skrtel would score from a header and all would be forgiven. It truly was strange times to be a red, as some simply accepted mediocrity.
Too often in the past few years the attitude from these has also been lacking. Too many wishy washy players have been allowed to come in and earn good money at the club.
Lazar Markovic has perhaps not been dealt the kindest of hands in his forgettable Liverpool career. Injuries and odd positional decisions by Brendan Rodgers contributed to a stalled start at Anfield for the Serbian.
However, his mentality clearly isn’t right. Showing flashes of quality simply isn’t good enough. At Liverpool and at Macro Silva’s Hull City, we got glimpses of what he could do. However loan spells at Sporting and Anderlecht haven’t worked out.
The once highly rated youngster, now desperate for a club, is a testament to players having the wrong mentality. Talent is fine, but if you’re not prepared to work and fight to overcome the barriers, then you shouldn’t be at Liverpool Football Club.
Cups and honours
Liverpool and Klopp need to win something soon. The urgency is growing. Three finals have been squandered thus far for Klopp in his short tenure. The longer the drought goes on, the harder it will be to win anything.
Poor players have cost us and this simply cannot be allowed to continue. The cup games will remain a chance to rotate, but we still need to be strong enough to win them.
Yes, the time allowed from the current window is diminishing, but there is still an option to recruit squad players. If that fails, versatile players such as Gomez, Milner and Fabinho will prove to be a big help.
Moreno, Mingolet, Markovic et al, are simply not good enough, even as fringe players. They must not be allowed the chance to cost us so dearly once again. If we cant to be successful, then the cut has to come now.