Monday 23 October 2017

Comment: 'Politician' Brendan Rodgers is no longer a credible manager for Liverpool

Kop boss is running out of lives

Brendan Rodgers is under serious pressure at Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers is under serious pressure at Liverpool
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Football managers rarely recover when they reach the breaking point Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers finds himself at right now.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger often suggests that modern Premier League managers are always three-games away from a crisis, yet Rodgers has been in the grip of a meltdown for 13 long months, with the occasional false dawn of optimism just about keeping him in his job to this point.

Yet as rumours surfaced on Tuesday suggesting Liverpool had made an approach to the out-of-work three-time Champions League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti, it seemed as if the wheels were starting to click in a chain of events that would finally end the misery for Rodgers and his final few deluded vocal backers.

While Liverpool were quick to distance themselves from reports that they are sounding out possible replacements for Rodgers, this great club would be negligent if they were not involved in that process now. In fact, they should have made their moves to hire a new coach long ago.

Jurgen Klopp.jpg
Former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp

It is often the case that top managers are not available for hire once a new season gets underway, but the availability of serial winners Ancelotti and former Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is an unfortunate reality for Rodgers at a time when his credibility is at an all-time low.

Seven games into this season, Liverpool have yet to put in a convincing performance and their position of 13th place in the Premier League sums up the mediocrity of their leader.

While Liverpool did their best to stick with Rodgers when he clearly should have lost his job last summer, their loyalty was always likely to come back and sting them and so it has proved.

It has long since become evident that the Rodgers legend at Anfield was built around the merits of one player, with the brilliance of Luis Suarez dragging Liverpool to the brink of the Premier League title in the 2013/14 season, allowing Rodgers to bask in the glory of being hailed as a tactical genius.

Manager of the Year accolades rolled in for the Liverpool boss, as he was hailed as the leader of a modern breed of coaching masters who were putting the old guard into the shade.

Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge almost fired Liverpool to the title in 2014, now only Sturridge remains and he has been plagued by injury

Yet since Suarez left for Barcelona, Rodgers has been horribly exposed and the harsh truth must be that this man who became a figure of fun on social media sites is no longer a credible manager at the highest level of the game.

After spending £291.5m to sign 31 players in his three years as Liverpool manager, Rodgers can have no excuses for the demise he has overseen and while his defence council will argue that he is not solely responsible for player recruitment at Anfield, that horrible transfer record has left a black mark on his reputation.

Liverpool cannot attract the best players anymore, we are constantly being told. Or is it more accurate to suggest that the best players don’t want to play for a manager who has never won a trophy in his entire coaching career? The latter is probably more accurate.

In many ways, it is remarkable that we are still debating the merits of Rodgers’ continued stay as Liverpool manager and this is a story that could and should have been brought to a conclusion back in May.

The tipping point for Rodgers’ did not come against Norwich last Sunday or even in the desperate 3-1 defeat against Manchester United the week before, when the Liverpool manager excelled himself with a tactical selection that confused his own players as well as all observers.

This season’s tactical calamities merely add to the crime sheet Rodgers has pieced together during his time at Liverpool and as his side trailed 5-0 at half-time against Stoke - after another woefully inept team selection – negotiations should have begun over his pay-off.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard looks dejected after yesterday's 6-1 defeat at Stoke

Those keen to continue to support the Irishman filling one of the most prestigious roles in English football ran out of excuses when his side capitulated at the Britannia Stadium and even though it was a final day of the season game that did not mean a whole lot, it summed up the mood of apathy Rodgers has been unable to change despite his relentless positive post match analysis.

It was Rodgers back-room staff that paid the price for the Liverpool manager’s incompetence as they were sacked and replaced ahead of this Premier League season, but it will not be long until the ringleader of the circus is also spending more time with his family.

It may seem harsh to kick a man when he is already on his knees, yet we should not feel any sympathy for someone who is earning a seven figure salary each year and who will be able to retire at the age of 42 when he receives a huge severance package from Liverpool.

Rodgers has excelled as a politician at Liverpool, with his persistent acknowledgment of the club’s great history going down well with the club’s supporters and yet a vast majority of them are now seeing through his spoofery.

Liverpool’s fiercely loyal supporters tend to be the last to turn against one of their own, but Rodgers has used up all his credits with fans who would now welcome his departure.

That moment will now come sooner rather than later.

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