Why Liverpool's season so far has been a trial, not a crisis

Liverpool training pre-Hull City

Changes all over the pitch, a depleted strike force and a huge learning curve was always going to throw up difficulties, but the Reds aren't too badly placed.

Plenty has been written about Liverpool's season so far, that it has been a poor start and several commentators, pundits and former players have had their say on what they think is missing from the Reds so far this season.

After last season's unexpected title challenge, expectation on Merseyside was going to be the highest it has been in at least five years, when the Reds were also going into a season on the back of finishing runners-up in the title race.

Inevitably the loss of Luis Suarez has been pointed towards as a massive factor, but if he remained at Anfield, the chances are he will have only made the one appearance so far during this campaign, and that would have been at the weekend against Hull City.

Defensively they have their issues and the weekend's 0-0 draw against the Tigers only represented their second shut-out of the season, with it being one area of the side that needed urgently addressing after conceding 50 league goals last season. 

It would be madness to think that any work on the defence would produce instant results at the start of this season, likewise any replacement for Suarez would hit the ground running with a similar kind of goalscoring record. There was always going to be difficulties for the Reds this season, though some aspects are probably a little worse off than they would have liked.

Nine players have arrived at the club this summer as the Reds re-adapt to life at the highest level having qualified for the Champions League in five years. 

Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Javier Manquillo, Mario Balotelli - with Origi staying on loan, and it is difficult to expect all of them to have had an impact during their first couple of months on Merseyside. It would have been a surprise if the side wasn't taking a step back in order to take two forward.

Add in the factor that Daniel Sturridge has had an injury hit start to the season has taken a large part of Liverpool's goal threat away from them.

This season is a new experience for a lot of the team, including the manager. Brendan Rodgers has never managed a side in the Champions League, not to mention a side from pot three who was always going to find it difficult to get out of their group. To be level on points with second place in the group at the halfway stage still means the Reds can get out of the group - though both Ludogorets and Basel are not to be underestimated.

Then there is the league position, seventh place with 14 points after nine games is far from ideal, but like last season the side will get stronger as the season goes on. They are currently two points off fourth place, above Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham who would be considered the main dangers to their chances of consolidating their position in the top four - and though they face a tough test against Swansea City in the Capital One Cup at Anfield tomorrow night, they are still competing on all four fronts.

It's not been pretty watching Liverpool in some games this season. Sometimes they have lacked cohesion, looked as if they system they are playing doesn't suit them and lack cutting edge in the final third. Watching Liverpool is certainly a trial at the moment. But with more and more time together, and as soon as they get a bit of momentum, the season could improve quite dramatically.

For now it is far from a crisis, it is certainly a trial and a far cry from the free-flowing football everyone became accustomed to last season, but it still took a bit of time for the Reds to truly click last term.

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