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A standard response from your fearless correspondent about Brendan Rodgers is 'I like him, but he makes it pretty difficult'.
Brendan accentuated the latter point this week by firstly using the word 'linear' to describe Liverpool's season, but also by mentioning his side and second place in the table in the same remark.
He said on Friday: "For a club that has been very poor and disastrous by all accounts from other people we lie four points off top four.
"For me the ambition is to grow higher. We are 11 points off second and that can all turn around very quickly so you need to get consistency - and that is what we have at the minute."
At that point Liverpool had won three games in a row - one was against Southampton, one against Udinese reserves, and one against West Ham. That isn't consistency, that isn't the time to start being smug and saying 'I told you so' and that certainly isn't the time to start talking about making the top two.
It was perhaps fitting that Rodgers' chutzpah should be given a quick slap by a truly dreadful performance and deserved defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday, but that's not to say Rodgers is the wrong man for Liverpool. Given his restrictions (money, current squad, inability to talk like someone other than a motivational speaker) and the relatively short space of time he has been there, it's probably impossible to conclude that for now.
My instinct is there's something there, and that Liverpool should stick with him and thus should give him the appropriate financial backing in January. This is a squad that badly needs strengthening, a statement that up there with 'Luis Suarez - he's a bit of a room-splitter, isn't he?' in the 'Well, duh' stakes.
There are, however, three relatively simple things that Rodgers can do at Liverpool, one of which is easy, one requires a bit of imagination and the other requires some balls.
- The Easy One: Give Raheem Sterling a rest. Clearly a hugely talented prospect, the lad is only just 18 and has started every league game since August 26. He looked weary against Villa, and it's hardly a surprise given his age. He has been thrust into the Liverpool first team through circumstance, since the alternatives are not good enough. By playing him every week, Rodgers is risking running Sterling into the ground, and arguably even weakening the club's own negotiating position with his new contract. The more games he plays, the more important he is to Liverpool, and the more his agent can demand from the club. Obviously, resting Sterling will be easier should new players be bought in January. Which leads us to...
- The Imaginative One: Don't buy Daniel Sturridge. The word in most of the newspapers is that Sturridge and Thomas Ince are Liverpool's primary targets for the transfer window, for a combined fee of something like £18million. Ince is an exciting prospect and might be worth recruiting, even if it will look pretty brainless to pay £4-6million for a player they allowed to leave for pocket change last year. Sturridge however, will cost at least £12million to buy, will cost more in wages, will demand he plays through the middle and will bring a beefy ego. And, frankly, he isn't that good. The standard line about Sturridge is that if he was half as good as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as good as he actually is. Liverpool are a club with a limited budget, and spending a lot on a young English forward when there might be better/cheaper alternatives sounds awfully familiar.
So if Liverpool need a striker, and Sturridge isn't that man, who should it be? This is where the imagination comes in. Sarah Winterburn wrote a couple of weeks ago that January is a better time to find value than many would have you believe, with Nikica Jelavic, Papiss Cisse and Pavel Pogrebnyak delivering 34 goals between them after their clubs paid a total of around £13million in January last season. Scouting for Liverpool strikers isn't the job of F365, but so far this season Burak Yilmaz has 15 goals for Galatasaray, Wilfried Bony 15 for Vitesse Arnhem and Jackson Martinez has 14 for Porto. This is not to say these players are guaranteed to be better than Sturridge, or that Liverpool should buy one of these players or that they'd even want to come, but it is just to illustrate that there are alternatives out there. It's up to Rodgers and his scouts to have a little imagination.
- The Ballsy One: Don't pick Steven Gerrard in every game. The Liverpool captain has started every Premier League game this season (as well as four in the Europa League), and while it would be foolish to suggest he is done at 32, he is indisputably past his peak and has not done enough this season to merit automatic selection. If Rodgers believes Gerrard has deserved to be in every first XI then fine - we shall have to disagree. However, if his decisions are being influenced by what he might believe to be a backlash from the fans, he should realise that dropping Gerrard would not be a universally unpopular decision at Anfield. It seems like Gerrard is being forced into every Liverpool side like an extra pair of shoes into an uncooperative suitcase. It need not be so.
Rodgers might be the man to rebuild Liverpool. He might not. He needs time, but at the moment there are a few areas in which he is doing himself no favours.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter