Liverpool's 2014/15 half-term report - it feels like transition again

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After last season's unexpected title challenge, there was a degree more expectation on Liverpool to perform this season, with several new players arriving, and Luis Suarez leaving the club.

Prediction at the start of the season

It was a difficult one for Liverpool. The loss of Luis Suarez meant that so many people thought they would not reach the heights of last season, with some predicting they would finish outside the top four.

Performance so far

They have struggled terribly as they try to integrate so many new faces into the side, coping with the loss of Suarez and the injury to Daniel Sturridge. The Reds have only recorded back to back wins on two occasions in the Premier League so far this season, but a similar run in the second half of last season like last term could see them make a late charge for the Champions League places - with the Reds five points off fourth spot going into the New Year.

One positive is that the Reds are in the semi-finals of the League Cup but face a difficult semi-final tie against Chelsea if Brendan Rodgers is going to win his first trophy in charge at the club, but dropping down to the Europa League after working so hard to get back into the Champions League is a major disappointment.

Manager rating

4/10. Talk of getting rid of Brendan Rodgers is frankly ridiculous and would cause a lot of turmoil at the club, but he hasn't helped himself at times. The defence is still leaking goals whilst the Reds are struggling to find the net, and games like the Basel home tie in the Champion League exposed a flaw in his way of thinking. It should have been a 100mph start, but it wasn't. However, willingness to experiment to see if they suit his side must be applauded, but the defensive frailties from last term remain.

Best game Liverpool have been involved in

Queens Park Rangers 2-3 Liverpool - an utterly bonkers way to close out a game. With QPR the better team in the first half, Liverpool opened the scoring in the second half courtesy of some quick thinking from Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson forced a Richard Dunne own goal. Eduardo Vargas equalised with five minutes to go before Philippe Coutinho put the visitors back in front in the last minute of normal time. Poor defending blighted Liverpool again when Vargas headed home a stoppage time equaliser, before Steven Caulker put through his own net to give the Reds victory.

New signings (loan or otherwise)

A lot of them have shown flashes of quality but not really made a big impact, and there have been a couple of disappointments. Dejan Lovren has failed to provide the leadership he was brought in to do, whilst Mario Balotelli has struggled in front of goal, and Rickie Lambert, though mostly a back-up, will have wanted to deliver more.

Alberto Moreno and Adam Lallana seemed to have impressed supporters, whilst Javier Manquillo seems to have provided a different approach to the right-back role for the Reds. 

He along with Lazar Markovic are examples of the younger players still needing more time to develop, though the Serbian has started to show more of his quality in recent weeks, and not much has been seen of Emre Can, though he looks like a player that has potential, but we have seen the German is versatile and assured on the ball.

Most significant win of the season

Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool. Given the disappointing nature of Liverpool's performances this season, this was an example of that they still have the ability to press well and kill games off relatively early like last term. Goals from Raheem Sterling, a penalty from Steven Gerrard and a wonderful solo goal from Alberto Moreno contributed to an impressive display during their August display at White Hart Lane.

Liverpool's low point so far

Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool. It was roles reversed from nine months ago when the Reds won 3-0. It showed their frailties in all departments, and it last season's second-place finish for Liverpool feel like a false dawn, as Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin Van Persie capitalised to win the game for United.

Strengthening in January

Ideally, Liverpool could do with a new goalkeeper given the out of form Simon Mignolet was dropped and Brad Jones occupied the role until getting injured against Burnley. The Reds may look for another centre-half with the club reportedly prepared for another overhaul in that position, and there is a desire to bring in a new striker. Not all of them, if any, are likely to arrive in the winter window, though.

The rest of the season

There have been signs of improvement in their recent performances, and Liverpool will want to see some more consistency. If they can streak a decent run of wins together they may surprise a few people and challenge for the top four after such a poor start, and the likely return of Daniel Sturridge from injury should help their cause.

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