Liverpool’s exploits last season went a long way to undermining the age-old adage that bemoans the difficulty involved with scoring goals.
As they rustled the net with carefree abandon last spring, recording win after win in the process, it was tough to picture that before autumn was out they’d be completely devoid of clues about how to perform either task.
The goals and winning formula jetted off to Barcelona in exchange for £75m and manager Brendan Rodgers has so far struggled in his attempts to discover an alternative method for spoils snaffling.
In the build up to the Reds’ clash with his former employers Chelsea, the Ulsterman has been discussing his toils, telling reporters:
‘You have to be bold enough to make the decisions as a manager.
That is why you are paid the money you are paid. If you make more wrong ones than right ones you will be out of work. It’s a big risk but for me I’m happy with the decisions I make.”
Those decisions may have pleased Rodgers, but there are plenty of Liverpool fans who won’t be as impressed based on the club’s substandard results this term.
So as the Northern Irishman strives to concoct a new recipe for success, what big decisions must he make next?
The news.bwin.com/en/ team will moot a few:
Drop Mario Balotelli for Rickie Lambert.
Super Mario is, on his day, a world-class asset, but that day comes about far too infrequently to justify picking him twice a week.
With Daniel Sturridge out injured and Balotelli’s best form floating around in alien dimension, this is exactly the situation that ancillary man Lambert was bought for.
In two Premier League campaigns with Southampton he’s fired into double digits, bagging 28 in total, as well as assisting 14.
He may not be as flash as Balotelli, but he’s a good bet for a goal and that’s what Liverpool need more than anything right now.
Allow Kolo Toure to keep his place.
The Ivorian may occasional play like he’s a children’s entertainer, merely moonlighting as a pro footballer, but few players have experience of playing for as many elite outfits for as long.
One who certainly doesn’t is Dejan Lovren.
The £20m acquisition has struggled to improve the Reds backline in any sense and could use some time off the field to help him bed in.
Toure’s performance against Real Madrid last time around was man of the match-winning for many, proving he’s still got the skills to cut it at the top level.
Replace last season’s superstars Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling with Adam Lallana and Emre Can.
This pair were key players in Liverpool’s midfield at the Bernabeu, injecting a vibrancy and liveliness that’s been absent for weeks.
Whether fatigue or something more sinister is at the root, the former duo’s recent struggles are the perfect microcosm for the issues the Reds have been enduring in the past weeks.
A spell on the sidelines will reinvigorate both, readying them for a surge up the table in the second half of the campaign.