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Paul Scholes: Liverpool are on the slide as poor signings leave Brendan Rodgers vulnerable


Nowhere to hide: Brendan Rodgers has made some questionable buys for Liverpool and it’s starting to haunt him now, according to Paul Scholes

Nowhere to hide: Brendan Rodgers has made some questionable buys for Liverpool and it’s starting to haunt him now, according to Paul Scholes

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Nowhere to hide: Brendan Rodgers has made some questionable buys for Liverpool and it’s starting to haunt him now, according to Paul Scholes

Come the end of next season it will be 26 years since Liverpool's last league title in 1990.

In other words, if they do not win the league this season, or next, then by the summer of 2016 they will have gone the same length of time without winning it that Manchester United did between 1967 and 1993.

As things stand, Liverpool are not even close to winning that 19th league title, be it this season or next. United should have won the league in 1991-1992 but threw it away and let Leeds United in.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side were already the best in the country and even after the disappointment of that year, you knew that it was a matter of time before they won it.

I was a young pro in the reserves at United in 1993 and I will never forget the huge sense of joy - and relief - that the streak was over and the club were champions again. As for my generation of players, our job was to carry it on.

It was the likes of Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Eric Cantona who had broken through and won the first title in more than a quarter of a century.

For Liverpool, it looks as if the wait is going to exceed the 26 years that it took United from the Sir Matt Busby era to the Ferguson era.

Liverpool's chance to break that cycle was last season, even more so than 2008-2009 when Rafa Benitez's team ran us close.

Last season was a freak season when it seemed that none of the usual contenders wanted to win the title.

Six months on from that finale in May and Brendan Rodgers is paying the price for having overachieved with Liverpool.

They got so close and the assumption in some quarters was that Liverpool could push on and do what United did in 1993, going from second to first. But Liverpool look further away than 12 months ago.

I rate Rodgers as a manager. I liked how the Ulsterman's Swansea team played and I think he comes across well in his press conferences.

At the moment he looks more stressed out than at any point since he took the job. The expectation at Liverpool got out of control last season and now, when the belief from the fans has been that they should take the next step, the team have been unable to do it.

I go back to the signings once again. They weren't good enough.

A manager lives and dies by the players he brings in, especially when someone as big as Luis Suarez leaves.

For instance, the £20m price for Dejan Lovren means that instead of looking like a smart call on a player with potential, he becomes a £20m defender with all the pressure that brings.

To go to the next level, Liverpool needed two top-quality signings but they have not been able to get those players and so the momentum that they built over the course of last season has been lost. Instead of challenging at the top of the table, they find themselves losing to Crystal Palace and taking Champions League second round qualification down to the wire. They are going backwards rather than forwards this season. Coping without Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge would have been difficult for any manager.

The only small consolation is that it was the second half of last season that Liverpool's form really hit the heights.

Winning a title changes everything about the club. After 1993, United were no longer the "nearly club".

No one needed to mention the years that had passed since the great side of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best had won the league. We had a new group of winners to celebrate, older players like Bryan Robson and Brian McClair, as well as the teenage Ryan Giggs.

There were a new group of players who could say that they had been there and done that. As a club, we were looking forward to the future rather than over our shoulders at the past.

Rodgers did brilliantly to get Liverpool so close last year, but the last step is always the hardest.

Source: Independent

Belfast Telegraph