Liverpool Boss Brendan Rodgers Must Address Clique Culture If He Wants To Fix Broken Team & Save Reds’ Season

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Liverpool exited the Champions League in shambolic fashion on Tuesday night, stuttering to a disappointing draw against FC Basle, who went through at the Reds’ expense.

Brendan Rodgers’ side completely lacked cohesion against the Swiss champions – there was no togetherness and very little understanding between the players in red.

The manager’s constant squad rotation could easily be blamed for his team’s lack of on-field chemistry, but the truth runs deeper than that.

Liverpool are clearly a team divided.

The squad is made up of several little cliques, one example being Jose Enrique, Alberto Moreno, Javi Manquillo and Suso. The Spaniards regularly socialise as a foursome – they went go-karting together this week and they all enjoyed a spa break last month.

Cliques in football are not new, nor are cliques at Anfield. Back in 2009, Dutch winger Ryan Babel said: “Outside the pitch everyone goes their own way. The Spanish-speaking guys are very close. The youths hang out together, and I get along with [Yossi] Benayoun and Lucas [Leiva].”

On the face of it, the fact that there is such a strong bond between the club’s current Spanish stars is a very positive thing.

Furthermore, these players should not be blamed for choosing to spend time with people who come from similar backgrounds – it is a very natural thing to do after all.

However, teams – particularly those like Liverpool who are short on amazing individual talent – have to stick together as much as possible.

There does not seem to be an ounce of disaffection between any of Liverpool’s cliques, but division is not conducive to success in an 11-man game.

The clamp-down on cliques has been a major factor behind Swansea City’s fine start under new boss Garry Monk, who actively sought to improve squad relations following Michael Laudrup’s divided reign.

Rodgers must follow suit. He has to do all in his power to bring his side together off the pitch.

Forget tweaking the formation or working on a new set-piece strategy, team-building should be top of the agenda at Anfield right now.

Go-karting for everyone… seriously.

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