The ‘weather bomb’ is about hit the UK, and the storm clouds are beginning to hang over Brendan Rodgers after Liverpool’s disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Basel.
Despite Steven Gerrard’s late heroics, Liverpool were unable to muster the win they needed to keep alive their European hopes, and a 1-1 draw sees them depart Europe’s premier competition before the adventure has really begun.
Rodgers beamed with pride over being the man to lead Liverpool back to Europe’s top table after a five-year absence, but he cannot be proud of how his side performed in Group B as they bowed out with a whimper.
When the draw was made back in August, Liverpool were expected to progress through to the knockout stages alongside holders Real Madrid. But the proof has been in the pudding, and the returning Merseyside club are some way behind Europe’s big guns.
One win from six games – a last-gasp victory over new boys Ludogorets at home – is a shocking statistic for Rodgers and his coaching staff to mull over as they look to rebuild their faltering season.
Rodgers blamed the officials after the game, feeling they got a number of big decisions wrong, including Lazar Markovic’s red card, but the facts show the Northern Irishman has nobody to blame but himself for an underwhelming European experience.
“We can’t have any excuses,” Rodgers said after the game. “We had enough games to try and get enough points but the key one was away to Basel, where we were disappointing and lost.
“If you deserve to go through you get the points. We really wanted to qualify but we weren’t good enough.
“But you have to remember where we have come from. We have come a long way in a short time.”
Rodgers knows he will come under scrutiny now after failing to build on the feel-good factor around the club after last season’s success, when they so nearly ended their 24-year wait for the Premier League title.”When you don’t qualify, everyone gets looked at,” he said. “Across the board we have been looked at and analysed. For us the solution is simple; we have to be better in our performance level.”