Lose at Man United and Rodgers might lose job
MAN UNITED v LIVERPOOL
(Tomorrow, 9.30pm, SingTel mio TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)
Let me say this first. Liverpool have no chance of beating Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight.
I can't see anything but a Man United win.
Liverpool are not playing well while Man United are full of confidence at the moment after five straight wins.
And the team on form will be at home.
There are rumours in the papers that say Liverpool are already looking for a replacement for Brendan Rodgers.
He mentioned a few weeks ago that he was under pressure.
Obviously, the draw against Basel on Tuesday, which saw them crash out of the Champions League, didn't help either.
If the Reds lose to the Red Devils tomorrow, Rodgers' job won't be safe.
There are many who say that Liverpool need to spend big next month as the new signings have not been up to the mark.
But will the board still back the manager? All of this season's new players have been disappointing so far.
I would say no.
Maybe the owners will allow Rodgers to bring in a centre forward, and then see how the other players develop over the remainder of the season.
If I were the owner, I wouldn't throw good money away after seeing what has happened the last few months.
I don't have too many complaints about Rodgers' team selections because he is the one who sees the team every day.
The way they are playing at the moment, you would think that the team lack quality.
They replaced Luis Suarez with five or six players and, so far, they haven't shown enough. This is part of the problem, not the team selection.
Also, the players who performed for them last term are not getting anywhere close to that level.
I can't name one player who has done well this season.
In all areas, the Reds have been either average or below average.
That's why they are in ninth position.
In recent matches, Rodgers has reinstated Steven Gerrard in an attacking role which he has played in all his career. It smacks of desperation.
It's a move that came about because the team are not scoring enough goals.
If you look at the forwards at Rodgers' disposal, there's not an awful lot he can choose from.
So the manager is trying to change things. But it's more tiring to play in that position.
Gerrard's 34 now. At this stage of his career, I don't think he's capable of playing in that forward role.
If Rodgers wants to keep Gerrard at the club for longer, then his best position has to be in front of the back four.
Then again, why is Gerrard playing in the attacking midfielder's position, when the Reds have Adam Lallana, whom they bought for £25 million ($51.5m)?
It's very strange to see him sitting on the bench.
Lallana is a unique player in England, the kind the Three Lions haven't had in the last 20 years.
He's a No. 10, like a David Silva, although obviously not in his class, but he can still make a chance out of nothing.
WHAT A WASTE
And yet he's sitting on the bench.
Of the new signings, Lallana has the most potential. He has made the biggest impact among the new guys.
Look at Mario Balotelli, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert, I don't think there's too much of note to report.
Then there's the baffling tactic of playing Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson in midfield.
If you look at their qualities, I don't think they should be playing together. They just don't do enough going forward or backward.
If you look at the formation against Basel in midweek, Rodgers was very defensive in his tactics.
He fielded Lucas Leiva, Henderson and Allen in midfield. Yes, he didn't need to win the game in the first 10 minutes.
But I'm not too sure if that was a game to be cautious.
The Reds needed imagination and guile going forward. Having Lallana on the pitch would have helped a lot.
But maybe Rodgers decided that it wasn't wise to do so because of his rib injury.
Looking forward to the Man United game, Liverpool need a spark from somewhere.
When I was at the club, we had a Michael Owen or a Steven Gerrard (at his prime), players who could win us games in the last minute to change things for us.
I'm not sure Liverpool have the same kind of players now.
Take Manchester City for example. They played against a 10-man Bayern Munich in the Champions League, and they hardly saw the ball.
Then Sergio Aguero scored a goal out of nothing and, all of a sudden, their season came alive.
They won at Southampton, and then they beat Roma. Everything changed just like that.
Like City, the Reds need that spark from somewhere.
The players need to step up. They need to work hard and keep believing even when things are going badly.
If the Reds lose to the Red Devils tomorrow, Rodgers’ job won’t be safe.
— Didi Hamann, on Brendan Rodgers
HAMANN'S LINE-UP FOR MAN UNITED CLASH
HAMANN SAYS: Old Trafford is a massive pitch. Liverpool will be defending pretty deep. When they win the ball, they will have to sprint about 50 metres to score.
So, you need somebody mobile and athletic. That's why I would pick Fabio Borini over Rickie Lambert up front.
I would also like to see Markovic and Sterling on the wings, because they have pace to make use of the space.
- Burnley v Southampton
- Chelsea v Hull City
- Crystal Palace v Stoke City
- Leicester City v Man City
- Sunderland v West Ham
- West Brom v Aston Villa
- 1.30am: Arsenal v Newcastle
- 9.30pm: Man Utd v Liverpool
- 11.55pm: Swansea v Spurs
- 4am: Everton v QPR
Hamann rates both sides
David de Gea was under pressure when he arrived at Man United, but now, the Spaniard is the best goalkeeper in the Premiership by a long way.
Hamann's rating: 9 out of 10
They have a lot of injuries, and the young defenders don't look too solid.
Ander Herrera is doing okay but Michael Carrick has made the big difference. His return is why United are getting the results now.
Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are back in form. I wouldn't say they are the best in the Premier League but they are very strong.
Simon Mignolet looks shaky and lacks confidence.
Players keep getting changed, which contributes to the porous defence.
No structure there, really.
There are not enough players who can make a difference going forward or backward.
How many goals have the forwards scored among them? I'm being very generous with my rating here.