Liverpool went out of the Europa League on away goals to Zenit on Thursday evening, despite claiming a 3-1 victory over the Russian outfit at Anfield.
Liverpool produced a spirited performance on home turf, but ultimately it was the 2-0 first leg defeat in Russia that cost Brendan Rodger’s side the tie.
Last night’s game was Jamie Carragher’s last ever European appearance for the Reds.
The veteran centre-back is a true Liverpool hero and it was a shame that it was his mistake that led to Hulk’s crucial opening goal.
Carragher is retiring at the end of the season and it’s unfortunate that he committed such a terrible error in his last appearance on the European stage. The childhood Evertonian will be missed next season, as he is great leader and gives everything for the Reds cause.
Liverpool seem to be taking one step forward and two steps back at times. Just when the Reds look like they are about to move forward they hit a bump in the road. However, Liverpool are still making progress under Brendan Rodgers.
The recent signings of Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho from Inter look to be very shrewd ones. Sturridge has made a massive difference to the Reds attack and against Zenit his absence was noticeable.
Sturridge has already become an invaluable member of the Liverpool team. The young attacker has provided the assistance that Luis Suarez has been crying out for over the last couple of seasons.
The pair has already formed a very good partnership and looks a threat to every defence they come up against.
Coutinho is a highly-rated young playmaker and his performance on his full debut against Swansea was very encouraging. He is the sort of player that will provide the Liverpool team with creativity and flair to the Reds team.
Both players can have an effect on the Liverpool team in the long run. They are both young players who could help Liverpool to success over the next decade. The pair have the potential to have bright futures at Anfield.
Despite Sturridge’s arrival on Merseyside Liverpool still have a great dependence on star striker Luis Suarez and to a certain extent captain Steven Gerrard. Suarez is by far the Reds star player and has at times has carried Liverpool on his shoulders.
Liverpool’s dependence on Luis Suarez isn’t unique, as most top teams depend on their star player. However, Suarez has a major job on his hands carrying the rest of his team this season.
Gerrard has rediscovered his best form in recent months and has started looking like the Steven Gerrard of old. The midfield marvel has combined well with Suarez and the pair are the shining lights in an otherwise unremarkable team.
I have rated Brendan Rodgers as a manager for a long time. I have never had any doubts that he would be a success at Anfield, if allowed the time to get his ideas across to the players.
He has a very clear idea of how he wants his team to play and it seems that his players are starting to buy into his ideas. However, the one thing that is holding back progress is the quality of his players.
Too many of Rodgers squad are not good enough to be in a team that are aiming for the top four in the Premier League, which is where the Reds are aiming. It looks unlikely that the Reds will make it into the Champions League spots this season.
Brendan Rodgers has made some decent signings so far (Sturridge and Coutinho) and some players that could get prove to be decent signings (Joe Allen and Fabio Borini)in the future. Next summer’s transfer dealings will dictate how successful Liverpool are next season.
Liverpool maybe out of every competition this season and in seventh place in the Premier League, but I really do believe that Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool have moved in the right direction this season, although the fruits of the former-Swansea boss’ labours may not be evident until next season.
Have Liverpool moved in the right direction this season?