Brendan Rodgers Should Get The Boot From Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers keeps trying to persuade us that he knows what he is doing at Liverpool, but the evidence suggests otherwise.
The Reds’ 2014/15 season will fade out with a whimper with the almost certain knowledge that there will be no Champions League football in the next campaign and consequently a slim chance of attracting the world’s elite players to Anfield.
The Northern Irish manager likes to see himself as a boss in the mold of Liverpool greats like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish, but they achieved something that has so far eluded Rodgers – they won trophies.
Rodgers is the first Liverpool manager since Phil Taylor in 1956-59 not to win a cup in his first three seasons.
His only managerial honor remains Swansea’s Championship play-offs win in 2010/11. The only other teams on his managerial resume, Watford and Reading, also failed to win anything under his charge.
Like many modern managers, Rodgers pours over match statistics in the hope of getting an edge over his rivals. Well, the numbers certainly didn’t add up in Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley.
They will show that Liverpool managed just three shots on target in the entire game and the players who had the most shots overall (3) were a defender, Dejan Lovren and a defensive midfielder, Steven Gerrard.
The player who managed the lowest number of passes in the entire game (18) was contract rebel superstar Raheem Sterling.
Last season, Luis Suarez made Rodgers look good; he was such a magnificent, if flawed, player that he often papered over any cracks in strategy.
But his departure has left the manager’s naivety clear for all to see.
On Sunday, with Daniel Sturridge inevitably injured, Rodgers left out Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini yet again to first try Sterling as an all-out center forward only to throw the dice again at half time with the introduction of the wayward Mario Balotelli, surely one of the least likely Liverpool strikers in the club’s history.
When Villa started overrunning his side in the first half, he tinkered with his formation and finally confused his players so much Gerrard for one didn’t know whether he was coming or going.
Of course, the club’s mercurial captain does know he’s going at the end of the season.
Maybe Rodgers should go, too.
He can sometimes be a clever manager, but all too often he’s too clever for his own good.
He inherited the likes of Sterling, Jordan Henderson and the departed Suarez and the only real transfer success story since his arrival was buying Phillippe Coutinho in 2013. He may argue that new players are bought by committee, but he undoubtedly has a major say.
At times his Liverpool has flattered to deceive, only to choke at the crucial moment. It happened in the final EPL run-up last season and it has happened in a series of key games this season.
On Sunday, he was outmaneuvered by Tim Sherwood and a Villa team that went to Wembley with a plan and stuck to it.
Rodgers needs to drop down a grade, back to a Swansea or a Newcastle, and work on his craft. You don’t learn a trade at Anfield – you need to be the finished article.
He’s clearly a passionate, intelligent manager but he’s not proven worthy of Liverpool’s legendary boot room, only of the boot.