As Arsenal were winning the north London derby on Wednesday night, Liverpool were struggling past League 2 side Carlisle United at Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers fielded an incredibly strong team, but they still required penalties as Carlisle battled to a 1-1 draw after extra-time.
The questions surrounding Rodgers’ future won’t stop growing, and former Arsenal man Charlie Nicholas has said blame for the transfer policy and failure to recruit targets like Alexis Sánchez have to lay at Rodgers’ door.
“Partly he is responsible because he must replace these people when he knows they are leaving. You can replace them with a different player but you have to identify what your style is,” Nicholas told Sky Sports on Thursday morning.
The Reds nearly won the league in the 2013/14 season but failed to replace Luis Suárez and struggled last term. Now Raheem Sterling has also left, and they continue to look weaker.
“Suárez’s style was non-stop action; when he didn’t have the ball, he would chase and hunt you down. You can’t buy the perfect replacement for him but you need to buy something similar or you need to transfer your style, just transform it a little touch.
“Can they get the real top players? Sanchez wanted to go to London to join Arsenal, suddenly Sterling goes to Manchester City,” Nicholas said. “The players that Liverpool identified before are not really as keen to come to Liverpool as they always have been in the past.
“So what are they going to do? They don’t have the big money anymore, they need Champions League football to build that big money.”
Liverpool were convinced they would be able to capture the signature of Alexis as they struck a deal with Barcelona for Suárez, but the Chilean was adamant on moving to Arsenal instead.
The rest, as they say, is history. Not only have Liverpool struggled to replace Suárez but Daniel Sturridge has been injured for almost a year and Raheem Sterling forced his way out of the club.
Liverpool’s failure to adequately replace even one of these players in the transfer market has left a gaping hole in the squad. A defence which was always leaky but protecting by supreme goalscorer is exposed and they pose no threat at the other end.
Nicholas added, “It would be wrong of the football club not to identify that players should be brought in as soon as they know there is a weakness or somebody potentially is leaving and that is part of the manager’s duties – not them all, because owners have a big say in it now – but unfortunately Brendan’s replacements so far have been pretty average.”
Liverpool are in poor form on the pitch and have done terrible business off it.
Brendan’s walking a tightrope, and losing balance fast.