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Liverpool Squad Depth Problem a Situation of Brendan Rodgers' Own Making

HULL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01:  Brendan Rodgers, manager of Liverpool looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Liverpool at KC Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Matt LadsonFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2013

Following the embarrassing 3-1 defeat at Hull City on Sunday afternoon, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers lamented the lack of attacking options and depth within his squad.

"The quality of our squad isn't big enough to cope with big players missing. We need as many of our good players as possible," said Rodgers, as quoted by BBC Sport.

There are a number of reasons why such an excuse is extremely tiresome—not least because surely Rodgers has nobody but himself to blame for the quality of his squad depth.

Let's get one thing very clear: Liverpool's squad depth is vastly improved upon 12 months ago. The bench at Hull featured vice-captain Daniel Agger, £15 million defender Mamadou Sakho, £15 million midfielder Joe Allen, £6.8 million Luis Alberto, £7 million forward Iago Aspas and £8 million Philippe Coutinho.

All those players, aside from Agger, were signed by Rodgers—£52 million spent.

Rodgers also seems to be missing the fact that, in all honesty, the players he did use to replace missing duo Daniel Sturridge and Coutinho, should have been good enough to beat a Hull side who lost to Crystal Palace last week.

HULL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Victor Moses of Liverpool is tackled by Robert Koren of Hull City during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Liverpool at KC Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Ima
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

It's the eternal question in football—who do you blame? The player for not performing, or the manger for buying, selecting and coaching the player?

Rodgers will, no doubt, be feeling extremely frustrated that Victor Moses and Raheem Sterling failed to impress when called upon at the KC Stadium. The two wide-men were extremely poor and perhaps Rodgers will be expressing his disappointment behind closed doors.

 

Rodgers complained about depth, look at Hull's team. We just didn't play, we were practically giving the ball to them.

— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) December 2, 2013

 

The team selection against Norwich on Wednesday evening will be telling of just how disappointed Rodgers was with Moses and Sterling in particular.

 

Unbalanced Squad

The problem is though, the Liverpool squad is extremely unbalanced. Top-heavy with defenders, and lacking of depth in attack.

Was it Rodgers' decision entirely to splash £22 million on two centre-backs in the final throws of the transfer window? Was it forced upon him by the transfer committee?

Not many clubs will have four experienced centre-backs—Sakho, Agger, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure—plus four young centre-backs—Sebastian Coates, Tiago Ilori, Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom—yet have no cover for their main two forwards.

Instead, Fabio Borini and Suso headed out on loan, while Iago Aspas has been used in an unfamiliar role and failed to impress.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Luis Alberto of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park on October 19, 2013 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The Liverpool side lacked creativity in the final third, as acknowledged by Rodgers post-match. But by the time a player who could provide that was introduced, Luis Alberto, it was 2-1 and in the 74th minute. Rodgers was too late with his subs again.

Rodgers has failed to address the much-debated midfield problem, refusing to play anything other than Lucas and Steven Gerrard in the centre, with Jordan Henderson too.

That midfield issue, coupled with the constant rotation of centre-back pairings, has now been compounded by removing one of the two players who had been papering over those cracks—Sturridge.

Without Sturridge, Liverpool are back to be overly-reliant on Luis Suarez and he consequently cuts a frustrated figure—devoid of creative talent behind him from midfield and thus attempting to do too much himself.

After a solid start, Liverpool have regressed while other sides are now starting to put together a run of form as they enter the crucial busy period of games.

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