Tuesday 23 January 2018 / 11:06 PM

United thrash Liverpool as normality resumes

And just like that, normal service has been resumed in one of English football’s most intense rivalries.

What will have made Liverpool’s 3-0 loss at the hands of bitter rivals Manchester United even more sour is the fact that just a few short months ago, it was them handing out the beating.

In March it was Liverpool who left Old Trafford with three goals in the net and three points in the bank, but nine months on and all of the pizzazz shown by the Reds during their title tilt has all but evaporated. All of a sudden, Liverpool are an average side once more, and their latest loss leaves them eighteen points adrift of league leaders Chelsea.

What will concern Liverpool fans is that it never really seemed like their team had even a fighting chance in this fixture. Despite having more shots and more possession, the reality is that Brendan Rodgers’ side were a distant second best to their Manchester counterparts. How quickly and harshly the mighty fall.

Before the game, Rodgers was quick to hit back at those critics suggesting the manager should lose his job, saying, “I don’t think there would be anyone better to do the job here”. If that sounds like the words of a man concerned about relinquishing his role, that’s because that’s exactly what they are.

I have already written at length about the fact that Rodgers could genuinely gone by the end of 2014. The fact of the matter is, his team has gone backwards at a rate of knots, and the Northern Irishman doesn’t appear to have any idea of how to prevent this slide from continuing.

The dropping of Simon Mignolet doesn’t seem to have solved any problems; in fact, it appears to have caused more as it paints a picture of a manager who is trying to rectify problems without really knowing what they are. After conceding another three goals against United with a different keeper between the sticks, Rodgers will now be aware that Mignolet was not the most significant problem, but the issue for the manager is that he doesn’t really seem to know what the problem is.

Rodgers has been quick to make excuses for his side’s desperately poor form, but the stark facts cannot be excused or explained away: Rodgers has spent over £100 million on a team that was already very expensive and has presided over a catastrophic fall from second place and title challenger to 10th place and nowhere.

A loss against Arsenal in their next league game would put the Liverpool manager’s position under serious threat, but given the North London side’s resurgence this year, that fixture will be anything but easy. Lose to the Gunners and there’s a good chance that Liverpool will head into 2015 in the bottom half of the table. Whether they do it with Rodgers still at the helm remains to be seen.

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