Liverpool's current situation is a prime example of what's been an extremely weird Premier League season so far.
The Reds currently sit 12th in the league with 14 points, and a record of four wins, two draws and six losses after 12 games. The manner of the defeats, and even the wins, show a team still finding its feet after an overhaul during the summer.
They've shown their frailty in other competitions they play a part in as well, with the Europa League staring them in the face right after a much awaited return to the Champions League. They are still in the Capital One Cup, though, and should progress.
Can the loss of one man really have such a negative effect? It really shouldn't despite Luis Suarez's considerable contributions last season. The Reds' overall record after a similar 12 games last season saw them pick up 24 points with Suarez playing in seven of those games. It wouldn't be too far-fetched to say that Liverpool could have still gained a similar set of results, though it would have been harder work, off the early season form of players like Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.
While that's a simple look at things without considering the quality or form of the opposition, among other things, it still makes a key point. The focus of any current issues certainly cannot be on one departed player, just as it can't be on one hugely under-pressure manager.
The light surrounding Brendan Rodgers has faded significantly since the end of last season, with some questionable decisions and comments regarding tactics, player selection, transfers and team performances. The two separate teams trotted out versus Real Madrid and Chelsea in one week stands out as one such moment.
Still, he should be given time. His first season in charge was a transition period, last season was a surprise and this season he faces his biggest challenge. This is now a team in his making, and it's up to him to fix any issues that arise.
And there are no shortage of issues.
The first and most obvious place to look at the collection of new faces at Anfield. In a replication of Tottenham's spending spree a summer earlier, though Rodgers would vehemently disagree, Liverpool brought in eight new players to strengthen areas across the pitch (nine if you consider Divock Origi, who was loaned back out to his old team). Mario Balotelli was arguably the only bonafide star, though the duo of Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren were on the rise, so it's rather difficult to say the squad got better despite getting bigger.
That's led to a startling lack of cohesion in all areas of pitch. The new arrivals have failed to add to Liverpool's quality in any way, yet, whether they are too raw, like Lazar Markovic, or not stylistically compatible, like Mario Balotelli. They've all been at Liverpool long enough to gain some level of competency with the club and their new teammates, so a question has to arise.
Did Rodgers, as he so adamantly states, choose the correct players for his squad and, if so, why hasn't he been able to get them performing at a consistently acceptable level?
The "lack of Premier League experience" story cannot be used when the four most senior arrivals have all played in the league, and it's tough to say the same about the others as well with almost half the season gone.
The defence which was supposed to be strengthened by Lovren's arrival has still let in 18 goals in those 12 Premier League games, with a duo of young Spanish full-backs finding ample playing time while their more senior counterparts continually under-perform. Above all, the constant missteps of Simon Mignolet in goal are a definite cause for concern. The midfield is the one department that retained all of its pieces, yet they have failed to control games as before.
Whereas Rodgers had seemingly breathed new life into Steven Gerrard's career last season, and helped Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling progress even further, all three are a shadow of their last season selves. They all played a part in England's disastrous World Cup campaign, along with Lallana and Glen Johnson, so that has to be considered. Balotelli and Lovren also went home in disappointing fashion with their nations, Italy and Croatia.
That's a lot of World Cup hangover to deal with.
Still, as far as the midfield is concerned, the key pieces are still there. Rodgers now has to alter things again as Gerrard's weaknesses have been exposed, while Sterling and Henderson still haven't shown the energy of last season, and Lallana looks lost in translation. Not to mention Philippe Coutinho playing in fits and starts.
Looking further forward reveals an even tougher problem for Rodgers. With Fabio Borini the only fleet-footed forward available close to replicating Luis Suarez, though he's well short in quality, Rodgers has had to rely on a misfiring Balotelli and a nostalgic Rickie Lambert. Neither have made a particularly good impression, but things would be easier if Daniel Sturridge was available.
Sturridge's three appearances this season, against Tottenham, Manchester City and Southampton, resulted in more lively performances all around and a record of two wins and a loss. Rodgers would certainly have preferred his new attackers to play with someone familiar with his team's play, but like any manager, he should be able to adapt.
And that's the major reason Rodgers is under so much pressure now. He's failed to adapt so far and has seen his side lurch from shaky performance to shaky performance without being able to alter things to produce positive results. He shouldn't be waiting for injuries to heal or hoping things get better.
His decision during that strange week of team selections against Real Madrid and Chelsea was a message but it doesn't look like it's been received so far. He still has, and deserves, time to change things around but it's running out fast.
I know I seem a very big advocate of trusting the manager, and that's true to a degree. In regard to Rodgers, Liverpool still have a talented manager, and upheaval at this point may lead to worse things and not better. This is a squad still capable of challenging for Europe and the former Swansea man can get them there.