THE festive period has seen the best and worst of Liverpool. But the one telling fact for me is that they have still to beat anybody above them in the league table.
Clearly Brendan Rodgers’s methods are all good against teams in the bottom half but, against the leading clubs, it just isn’t happening.
The performance at Stoke City on Boxing Day was particularly alarming, and underlined a few problems.
Stoke give you nothing – well, unless they are scoring for you as they did against Southampton – and once they get in front in a game, they ask serious questions of their opponents.
Liverpool had no answers. They just don’t have enough options or variety in their play. They are forever looking to Luis Suarez. It’s always, always him, as was shown at Queens Park Rangers a few days later.
Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen playing together has at least released Steven Gerrard a little bit, as has been shown in the skipper’s much more effective performances in recent weeks.
But if Liverpool sign Daniel Sturridge, then comes the conundrum. Where is Rodgers going to play the England man?
I’m not surprised Rodgers has been rotating his youngsters. Sometimes it does them good to sit on the sidelines and watch how the team plays and how a game progresses.
Plus, being out of the team makes them that bit hungrier, similar to how they were when they made their breakthrough.
Raheem Sterling has done brilliantly but its right he was left out at Stoke. He will come again and the break will do him good.
There could be faces going out of Anfield this month. I’m not sure Rodgers fancies Sebastian Coates, and if that’s the case then perhaps it would be better to get the centre-back off the wage bill and bring somebody else in.
I don’t think Joe Cole is ever going to be a regular for Liverpool and he’s another on big money who could be moved on.
However, maybe Stewart Downing has changed the manager’s mind a little bit. Rodgers is already a bit low on players so there seems no sense in letting Downing go.
He can play and he’s not necessarily a regular starter. Downing’s never lived up to the billing, but it would be chucking the baby out with bath water if Liverpool got rid of him.