Personnel and not systemic issues the problem for Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers 2

Brendan Rodgers would be making a huge mistake by compromising his philosophy of open, attractive football after only two games.

The Chelsea and Crystal Palace matches could end up proving to be the decisive moments in Liverpool's season but it should not be forgotten that Liverpool's attacking approach shown in both is exactly what got them into a position to challenge for the title in the first place.

Yet right now there is an ongoing debate as to whether Liverpool's defensive frailties are caused by individual players or in fact the system and more importantly, the style of football.

To rectify easily conceding goals the argument goes that the Reds need to change the way they negotiate games. Being more focused on defending however will undoubtedly take away from their brilliant attacking element. It requires a fine balancing act.

Rodgers should instead remain staunch in his beliefs as a lot of Liverpool's concessions this season have had more to do with individual errors. Some may counter this and say indiscretions by the likes of Martin Skrtel, as seen by how easily he vacated the penalty area on Monday to leave Dwight Gayle in on goal, are exacerbated by Liverpool not stopping the source. In other words sometimes too many players are left up the pitch to do so.

But even if that is accounted for it does not explain Steven Gerrard's slip, Kolo Toure's pass to West Brom's Victor Anichebe and own goal against Fulham or indeed the countless number of individual errors that have directly led to Liverpool leaking goals.

It is more reasonable to suggest that these players have suffered from the increasing pressure of the title fight reaching its climax. Certainly Palace's rescue act was more than just a coincidence. The timing of it given the context of Liverpool's season points to an implosion where mentality can only be brought into question.

Ultimately it is highly unlikely Rodgers will change his stance on how he wants his team to play. He will have to, though, over whom will make up his back four. Leadership is lacking among them and of those defenders to come in the summer they will surely have to possess such qualities in abundance.

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