Brendan Rodgers left isolated at Liverpool as No 2 Colin Pascoe is sacked
Published 06/06/2015 | 02:30
Brendan Rodgers is increasingly isolated as Liverpool manager following the sacking of long-serving assistant Colin Pascoe in the wake of this week's end-of-season review with the club's American owners.
Pascoe, who worked alongside Rodgers at Swansea before moving to Anfield with the Antrim native in the summer of 2012, was dismissed, despite having a year to run on his contract at the club.
With first-team coach Mike Marsh also a victim of the coaching clear-out instigated by owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG), Rodgers must now rebuild his backroom team ahead of a campaign which is likely to prove decisive in his battle to banish doubts over his long-term prospects as manager.
Although the decision to part company with Pascoe and Marsh is being portrayed as being mutually agreed by Rodgers and FSG, the departure of two key allies increases the pressure on Rodgers to restore Liverpool to the race for Champions League qualification following the disappointing sixth-place finish in the season just ended.
While Rodgers was assured by FSG that his job is safe, having seen Liverpool's fortunes affected by injury to key players, the identity of replacements for Pascoe and Marsh may shed light on the manager's influence at Anfield. As yet, no appointments have been made.
Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson, the leading candidate to succeed Steven Gerrard as Liverpool captain, has delivered a defiant message about the club's future, saying "exciting times" lie ahead, voicing his delight at Rodgers staying and James Milner arriving at Anfield.
Responding to news that Rodgers has been backed by the club's American owners despite a poor season, Henderson said: "Of course I wanted him to stay. I've always spoken very highly of Brendan ever since he came to the club. He's been good to me and fantastic for Liverpool.
"This (next) season is a big season for everyone. We want to be finishing as high in the league as we possibly can but also winning trophies. We have a great group of lads, there is great potential but it is time we started showing that potential in the Premier League and in cup competitions.
"Getting to semi-finals is great but we need to be getting to finals and winning them. That is what we will aim to do next season. I don't think we are far away."
Henderson believes it's vital that Liverool keep Raheem Sterling, adding: "It is exciting times but you have to keep your best players as well and Raheem is an outstanding player.
"Off the pitch everyone loves him. He's a great lad. He's getting a lot of criticism but I couldn't fault his work ethic. He hasn't got an ego. He's a huge player for us and we need to keep him.
"I'm a good friend of Raheem and we speak, but it's up to Raheem the path he wants to choose. He's a very mature young lad for what he's been through so far in his career. He's level-headed and knows what he wants. I hope the decision comes that he stays at Liverpool."
Henderson welcomed Milner, who has joined on a free from Manchester City. "He's a fantastic player, with great experience, played at the highest level, won big trophies and is just a brilliant signing.
"His attitude is first class, he always wants to improve, always in the gym doing extra stuff, great to have in the dressing-room. He's been fantastic for Manchester City.
"Steven is a massive loss for us with his experience and 'Milly' has got that."
With Gerrard heading to LA Galaxy, Liverpool's players organised a farewell party for their departing skipper in Dubai last week.
"It was a good trip,'' said Henderson, although there were initial concerns following the brutal 6-1 defeat by Stoke City on the final day of the season.
"We were devastated with how it had gone and no-one really wanted to go.
"But it was Stevie leaving and we wanted to say thank you and goodbye to him for everything he has done for us."
The players were filmed doing the Kolo/Yaya Toure song and dance. "I was at the back, lingering,'' said Henderson, slightly sheepishly.
"For team bonding it (the trip) was brilliant. Although it was for Stevie, I really think it will help us going into next season.
"I'm not sure who is going to be captain. I'll stay in contact with Stevie. He's already said any advice I need don't hesitate to pick up the phone. I'll look to do that."
Liverpool, meanwhile, are ready to complete the free transfer signing of Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan when his contract with the Championship club expires at the end of this month.
Bogdan, who impressed Rodgers during a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the FA Cup fourth round, rejected the offer of a new deal at the Macron Stadium.
Liverpool, who asked the Premier League for an away fixture on the opening weekend of next season owing to ongoing construction work at Anfield, have announced a freeze on general admission match-day ticket prices following consultations with supporters' groups.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)