Saturday 20 January 2018

Brendan Rodgers a ‘Steven Gerrard slip away from legendary status’

Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool in the hours after Sunday's 1-1 Merseyside derby draw
Brendan Rodgers was sacked by Liverpool in the hours after Sunday's 1-1 Merseyside derby draw Newsdesk Newsdesk

Sky Sports pundit and Telegraph columnist Alan Smith has said Brendan Rodger’s failure to instill enough organisation and composure will haunt the departed manager for some time.

Liverpool look set to open discussions with the former Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp after ending Rodgers' three-year reign at Anfield, the final game being a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

The under-pressure manager was given the news soon after the full-time whistle.

Ian Ayre, the chief executive, and the FSG president Mike Gordon spoke to Rodgers, who can expect a pay-off in the region of £7million, within an hour of the draw at Goodison Park to inform him of the board's decision. Ayre visited Rodgers's home after Gordon delivered the news by phone.

Writing in the Telegraph, Smith said yesterday’s derby went “to type” for the Reds under Rodgers’ watch

“It followed a pattern that handicapped his tenure. Too much panic and confusion, not enough organisation and composure,” he wrote.

“You are as a manager only as good as your players. By that criteria, Rodgers was an absolute star when Suarez and co were tearing up the league. By the same token, he was an underachiever when it came to the business of keeping clean sheets.

I don't know if that is what ultimately got him the sack. But listening to him forlornly talk at Goodison Park yesterday, it sounded as if this failure will haunt him for some time.”

Rodgers went agonisingly close to leading the Anfield club to a first domestic title since 1990, with a defeat against Chelsea including the infamous Steven Gerrard slip, proving to be as close as they would come to ending their doestic drought.

On such fine margins are managerial reigns defined.

“A Steven Gerrard slip away from legendary status. How fine are the lines between success and failure. Brendan Rodgers might be reflecting on that cold fact as he surveys an eventful three seasons in charge of Liverpool.

“Win that game against Chelsea two seasons back and there was every chance that the title would return to Anfield for the first time in 24 years. And yes, it was Gerrard - captain, talisman and midfielder - who made the fateful mistake on that day in April.

“Looking back, though, it could actually have been a number of other players committing the error that befell Gerrard, given the amount of defensive lapses that littered Rodgers’s reign.”

Having made it clear how eager he is to move to Merseyside, Klopp is expected to hold talks in the coming days and is seen as a more likely fit for the club than Carlo Ancelotti.

The Italian will still be sounded out, but Liverpool plan to name Rodgers' replacement before the club's next Premier League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on October 17.

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