It feels like when you move into a new house or apartment. This light doesn't work. When you fix that the toilet doesn't work any more. Get that sorted, a cabinet breaks or the kitchen light starts to flicker on and off. Then there's a couple bugs. That's what Liverpool feel like, as they attempt to furnish a whole new structure.
When it isn't creating chances, it's scoring. When it isn't scoring, it's the defense. When it isn't the defense, it's scoring. They just can't seem to get everything humming at the same time. But then, that would be the very definition of a team in transition, isn't it? If everything were at full boar, we wouldn't be so worried today, would we?
Before the season, I worried about whether Rodgers could go to a Plan B, and what would it be if he did. When Andy Carroll left, I worried more. It didn't really come up in the first few games because Liverpool were either trailing or having a good portion of the match.
But today it did. Things bogged down right after the hour mark or so. And Rodgers's answer was merely to replace his wide-men. Same formation, same ideas, same problems, but with different people. As if rolling a seven again would mean something different. Worse, one of those changes was Joe Cole, which would seem to be attempting to fix your transmission by reading it Sartre. Obviously, it didn't work.
With Stoke bunkered down in the center and in front of their box, and with no obvious aerial target to profit from balls from the wide areas where Stoke were shoveling Liverpool all afternoon, it was going to take some clever movement, passing, and touches to get through them. Whatever we think of Borini's touch and shooting, his running is very intelligent. He could have come up with some clever runs to drag some defenders out of place. The match was screaming for Sahin to be withdrawn for Borini and a switch to something like a 4-2-2-2. It would have kept Borini in the middle where he prefers to be and those runs make a difference, and given Suarez one more person to combine with. Leaving Suso out there with those two for at least a little while could have made something happen.
But no, Rodgers stuck with his 4-3-3, with Assaidi and Cole and nothing happened. No opting for a change, no alternative. And that doesn't make me feel better.
-I feared Stoke would bully the youngsters. And Lee Mason let them do it because he eats paint chips. Huth's stamp on Suarez went unnoticed much less resulting in the sending off it should have been. Stoke were allowed to kick LIverpool all over the pitch, because that's so English, innit? Disgraceful.
-Sahin dropped off from his previous two games. The all-action running of Henderson could have made a difference too in the second half.
-So did Steven Gerrard, who was back to his glory-ball best.
-But hey, a clean sheet, right?
So we head into an international break, and we feel better than we did at the last one which arrived with only one point. But this one only comes with five, and a tricky road ahead in the Europa League. THe performances might feel better, but the tangible results? Not by much. But this is how it's going to be. Not everything is going to fire all at once for a while.