Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool are failing to meet the high standards they set last season after their latest 1-0 defeat to Basel in the Champions League clash.
The Reds finished second in the table and were two points behind Premier League champions Manchester City last season. This campaign, the Merseyside club have struggled in all competitions and have already lost four games in all competitions.
In their latest fixture against the Swiss outfit, Marco Streller scored the only goal of the game from a set piece. Rodgers believes his defensive players could have done better in stopping the Basel skipper from putting the ball into the net.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere near technically where we were at last year. I’m hoping with the return of the players coming back from injury that we will become better,” Rodgers said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
“It’s important that we get back to playing as a team. We need to ensure we get back to that. It’s frustrating at times.”
“I think it was far too soft and it’s not the first one,” he said. “We lose the first contact and it’s a very disappointing goal to concede.”
“It was a game where we never got going in the first 25 minutes. We gave it away too easily. We grew into the game then, and settled in the second half, but we concede a soft goal like that. Then it’s difficult. This club has great record against British teams,” Liverpool manager stressed.
Liverpool were without the services of Luis Suarez at the start of the last season and they did get off to a flying start. If one thing the Reds are missing is that they are without the services of Daniel Sturridge, who is currently out action with a thigh injury.
Last season, if Suarez struggled to find form, they had Sturridge to bail them out and in certain occasions they also had Raheem Sterling to support the pair. However, this season, the spotlight is on the youngster with the former Chelsea man out on the sidelines.
The pressure is on Sterling to perform as summer signing Mario Baoltelli is struggling to score for the Reds. Despite having players like Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini as the other two options in the strike force, they two are unlikely to replicate Sturridge or Suarez.
In the next two Champions League clash Liverpool face defending champions Real Madrid. Rodgers needs to get the mentality back into the squad and failing to do so could see them struggle to finish the season in top four or progress to the knockout round of the competition.
If the Anfield club continues to struggle in the European competition, they could be demoted to the Europa League if they finish the group in third spot. Should that happen, it will be a massive blow for the Reds to focus on the Premier League.