THE BLOG

Liverpool Have Been Solid But Must Improve for Arsenal and United

19/08/2015 18:13 BST | Updated 19/08/2016 10:59 BST

​If you were to look at the Premier League table, you would be forgiven for thinking Liverpool have made a quietly impressive and efficient start to the season. Two games, two wins, two clean sheets and most importantly, six valuable points.

However, sometimes the league can paint a rather distorted portrait of how a team has started their season - just ask Manchester United fans. Like Louis van Gaal's men, Liverpool fans have not been as excited as the £77m spent on new talent had them thinking they would be.

Brendan Rodgers was misguidedly bullish after the Reds' rather fortunate 1-0 win over Bournemouth in this season's Anfield curtain-raiser, insisting that he was pleased with the performance and the result. While that was undoubtedly a genuine sentiment from the Ulsterman, Rodgers will know deep down that the greater challenges that lay in wait may expose the vulnerabilities that have been somewhat apparent in the opening two games.

Indeed, it required a rather questionable decision from the linesman for Liverpool to find the net in their first game in front of the Kop and although the newest star striker to don the famous red shirt scored it, the fans will be somewhat disconcerted at the fairly toothless attacking displays that plagued their side in the wake of Luis Suarez' departure.

Rodgers' new-look set-up are economical and efficient, but they will need to recapture that flair that made them one of the most exhilarating outfits to watch in European football two years ago, especially with trips to the Emirates and Old Trafford beckoning in the next three weeks.

Firstly, the form of Adam Lallana is a growing concern. Signed for £25m last summer, the 27-year-old was expected to take time to adapt to his new surroundings, but after a year the fans are growing increasingly querulous with his undistinguished form. Lallana has not been operating quite with the creative productivity as his team-mate Philippe Coutinho who, by hook or crook, is largely responsible for his team's two goals so far.

Taking the game by the scruff of the neck in spectacular fashion against Stoke, it was the Brazilian's elusiveness that caused the linesman to adjudge him onside in the build-up to Benteke's goal.

However, Coutinho cannot be relied upon heavily to provide in the same manner throughout the season. He is still young and hasn't quite found the consistency to become the bedrock of Rodgers' attacking philosophy just yet. He needs help and Lallana is one of many who should be providing it.

Rodgers also has Jordan Ibe and Roberto Firmino at his disposal, but the former is certainly far from being a polished attacker while it doesn't take a genius to work out that the Brazilian may need to a full season to acclimatise to English football.

Then come the problems in the middle of the park. With Lucas Leiva seemingly destined for the exit door, Rodgers needs a genuinely combative presence sitting in front of the defence. In truth, Liverpool have missed the uncompromising style of Javier Mascherano ever since he left in 2010.

James Milner was a shrewd piece of business, but the Reds certainly need to bolster in a manner similar to rivals Manchester United, who solved several years of midfield woes with the double capture of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Of course, there are positives to be taken from the opening two weeks too for Rodgers and the Liverpool hierarchy, who will feel their heavy investment has been vindicated at this early stage in the shape of Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez.

The two full-backs have proven themselves to be confident and tactically astute. While they have much scope for improvement, their mushrooming competence will be hugely relieving for Rodgers, seeing that the two sides of defence were a persistent problem last season.

Improved solidity in defence and a revamped attacking line, Rodgers certainly has the tools to set the pulses racing once again at Anfield like he did when Liverpool came within a whisker of that elusive first league title. Further improvement, however, is a must, especially with daunting trips to Old Trafford and the Emirates just around the corner.

What Liverpool have shown so far is progress; now they must build on it and continue to look forward. Let's not forget, the fans can still eagerly await the return of Daniel Sturridge.

For more fan views or to join the conversation visit www.90min.com