Five things learned from Liverpool's 3-0 loss to Real Madrid: Is this as bad as it gets for Brendan Rodgers?

Five conclusions from another embarrassing night for the Reds.

The positives: Liverpool can still qualify

Losing 3-0 at Anfield during a Champions League game was, until last night, unheard of.

But a Liverpool side devoid of quality and, in many individual cases, devoid of heart, hunger and desire, managed to achieve that feat. The scant consolation was that this was against a world-class Real Madrid side - the defending European champions.

Another positive was that FC Basel lost to FC Ludogorets, meaning three sides in Group B are on three points - and Liverpool can still qualify for the last 16.

But is that necessarily a good thing?

On the flip-side, it looks as though qualification from the group stages would do nothing for the Anfield outfit. Who would they beat on this form? Is it worth getting drawn against a big fish and being mauled at home once again?

The truth is Liverpool are not good enough for this level at the moment. A Champions League exit would mean the Reds can instead simply focus on ensuring a top-four place. That way, Brendan Rodgers will go into next season's tournament with experience at the top level and can prepare with a much better transfer window.

Those who defend Balotelli have very flawed logic

Liverpool's performance was generally terrible last night and their defending, as usual (sigh, we say this every week) absolutely awful. But how on earth did that suddenly mean Mario Balotelli played well?

That's exactly the logic some people applied on Twitter during the game. And it was laughable.

Many thought Balotelli wasn't at fault for 'all' Liverpool's problems, meaning the criticism of him was unfair and a 'witch hunt.' Well, how did he play? He was awful. Just because other people were too, that doesn't suddenly mean he wasn't awful now, does it?

Nothing has changed all season - except a glimpse against West Brom

The biggest problem for Liverpool at the moment is that there is simply no change each week. The Reds can, of course, dust themselves down from a defeat to a technically superior side and now concentrate on a weekend Premier League clash with Hull City.

Rodgers' team can win that game and, let's not forget, are somehow as high as fifth in the domestic standings.

But the Reds have been truly horrendous for most of their games this season. Against bottom-side Queens Park Rangers, they played even worse than they did against Real Madrid and managed to win thanks to two own goals. The only glimpses of good came in the 2-1 win against West Brom.

What's happening on the training ground? What's Rodgers saying to the players? Where are the tactical alternatives? Right now, it doesn't look like anyone is doing or trying anything to stop the rot. And these defeats will keep on coming as a result.

The problems began last campaign

Overall, the truth of all this is now revealing itself: that last season's deficiencies are costing Liverpool this term.

Rodgers is a fantastic young coach capable of achieving exceptional feats. But he has one style of play. That's it. He, for some reason, refuses to change it and adapt to a new system or 'philosophy' - as many managers, frustratingly, keep referring to.

The issue now is that most of Liverpool's current squad can't play that style. And that has left the Reds in a real mess.

It's alright winning every game and saying it's wonderful to play open, 'attractive' football. But, suddenly, when you stop winning, how can you fix it if you are unwilling to change your approach?

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