Four key areas Brendan Rodgers needs to look at to change Liverpool's fortunes

After four defeats in a row, and poor performances, something needs to change.

Four defeats on the bounce and the worst run of form since 2009 during the season which cost Rafa Benitez his job as Liverpool manager, it is perhaps not an exaggeration to call Liverpool's bumpy patch a crisis.

The 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was the latest worrying symptom that is threatening to undo all of the good work from last season that saw Liverpool improbably challenge for the Premier League title and secure Champions League football for the first time in five years.

But things have to change as the same warning signs are flashing. The leaky defence and inability to hold on to leads, cutting edge in the final third and question marks over their talismanic captain keep cropping up. Below are five things that need to be addressed.

Decide on the best system:

At the moment, it is hard to work out what system the Reds are playing. We know there is a back four but what is in front of it? Is it two holding midfielders? Is it a midfield three? At the moment is probably more of a 4-2-3-1 which has Steven Gerrard sitting in a deep role along with somebody else - it is often Jordan Henderson. Then when things are not going according to plan, the change is all to predictable - bring on a forward and switch to a 4-4-2. 

Bolder selection decisions:

This doesn't mean bold in the sense of taking the game by the scruff of the neck from the word go - though it would be welcome at the moment, but in the sense of personnel. If Liverpool are going to operate with holding midfield players, then Lucas Leiva, their most natural player in the role, needs to be one of them. In the cup games where the Brazilian has played this season, the whole shape and dynamic in the middle of the park looks far better than the one at the moment. This also brings into question the role of Steven Gerrard who has been less than convincing in that role. Should he be dropped or moved further up the field? Either way the Liverpool captain should not be immune from any shake-up amongst the players as the rest of the Premier League seems to have his number.

Furthermore the back line. £20 million spent on Dejan Lovren does not mean he should retain his place in the starting line-up after one error-strewn display is backed up by another. He was brought in to provide leadership at the back and none has been forthcoming. The only man that seems to provide any leadership to the back line is Kolo Toure - who has been used sparingly by Rodgers this season. It feels as though he should be given the opportunity to impress on a regular basis. Even dropping Martin Skrtel would be a bold move as he has been in the side since the third game of last season. But neither Lovren, or Skrtel provide the necessary leadership.

Change of mentality after taking a lead: 

Once they had taken the lead in a game last season, Liverpool quickly went in search of a second goal. This season it doesn't seem to be the case. Against Crystal Palace and Chelsea in particular of late, the Reds have gone in front in the game and tried to control proceedings - but their composure in possession has been unbelievably woeful. This aspect ties into team selection and players whose game it is to put their foot on the ball and calm the game down. But for now the Reds should go in search for that second goal and then try and control proceedings - it would probably take a little burden off their leaky defence, and lessen the panic in their own third of the field.

Build the team around a player who is on the pitch: 

Yes, it might sound obvious but at times Liverpool look as if there is a player missing - that could well be Daniel Sturridge who has had rotten luck when it comes to injury problems this season. But there is a talented teenager in Raheem Sterling who struck fear in opposition defences last season, that flamboyant Philippe Coutinho who seems to still have a box of tricks during this bad spell, but can't use them. Getting Coutinho and/or Sterling into dangerous, central positions, could allow Liverpool to create more chances and show some cutting edge they have been severely lacking.

There are of course many things fans will debate, whether they were right to make the signings they have done, or whether one player is up to scratch or not. But Liverpool have to deal with the here and now and not dwell on the past. Given the nature of the domestic season so far, it only takes a couple of wins to put Liverpool in a position where their targets for this season are realistic. But Brendan Rodgers has a lot of work to do, and a lot to think about.

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