Brendan Rodgers and the Story Of Liverpool's Previous Managers
A lot changes in a week. Or at least it’s supposed to.
A week ago I would have hoped for change; not only that I would have foreseen it, with fairly weak opposition in the next two games for Liverpool. One point later and only one thing has changed; the opposition to Rodgers is multiplying by the second.
And so with everybody seemingly looking to dispose of the Northern Irishman, I think it’s more than worth looking back at the departures of previous bosses; here’s the story of the last few managerial departures at LFC.
The most successful Liverpool manager in over ten years left by mutual consent, rather than being sacked by owners. However the Spaniard didn’t leave because he saw bigger brighter things on the horizon, rather that he saw a dimming and darker future at Liverpool; he had just finished 7th in the league with a poor showing in Europe, dropping out at the earliest stage.
This earned the criticism from all corners, including alienation from the players and fans alike; at least from the fans with short memories.
Only the year before his departure, Benitez had steered Liverpool to second place in the league; and in the following season (where he came 7th) he had lost Xabi Alonso (through selling for a record fee) and Torres for large portions thanks to injury. If I didn’t know it to be true I’d say it was a metaphor for the current Rodgers scenario; so heads up Brendan, a few slips could see you in 7th.
And from there, evidently not even a Champions League and FA Cup to your name can save you.
What may have saved Rafa however may have been a peek into the future. Following his decision to leave the club, the owners didn’t have to look far for a replacement; Roy Hodgson had been managing at Fulham up till his appointment at the Anfield helm.
During his time in London, Hodgson had reached two Champions League finals, winning one, and also challenging for the league on multiple occasions. But wait, that doesn’t sound like Roy? Actually, now I think of it, it was the man he replaced that achieved those things; surely then Hodgson must have done something of note to earn the right to displace Rafa who had achieved so much.
Of course, he kept them in the league, the dream of Fulham year upon year. But not the dream of Liverpool fans. The rest is history; trophyless, shambling history – so for Liverpool fans saying Brendan Rodgers is the worst in recent times, don’t forget the current England manager and his habit of playing David Ngog and signing Paul Konchesky.
It doesn’t seem so long ago Reds supporters went to see King Kenny play (and could he play by the way), but when he returned for his second stint as manager, only one question was on the lips of fans up and down the country: could he manage Liverpool again?
One Carling Cup and an F.A Cup final later, the answer from Fenway Sports group was a no; this suggests something about the current owners. Whilst it might be about winning trophies for some of the money men in football, Tom Werner and John Henry may not be so sold on silverware; Dalglish’ cup success was rather eclipsed by a mediocre at best league campaign.
For the baseball mean looking for a home run in the league 8th place evidently reached no more than the first base.
Imagine it’s the year 2017. Brendan Rodgers was let go by the club two years ago in 2015 after a 5th place finish in the league and defeats in two semi-finals. The year Rodgers lost his job was the first to see Liverpool play in the Champions League since the days of Rafa Benitez. The Northern Irishmen had reached that position in Europe by taking a club from 8th to 2nd within two years, only to slip down to just outside the top 4 the following season. This performance was not to the liking of many fans and evidently the owners, who quickly tried to replace Rodgers with Jürgen Klopp, who opted to stay clear and leave Liverpool with no option but to hire Jamie Carragher as coach, falling back to midtable as Carragher gains experience.
Back in the present, and the story of Liverpool’s managers in recent years has been a turbulent one, and if Liverpool are as quick to fire Rodgers as many fans would like, the future may be even more unstable.
It’s important to realise that even to finish fifth is growth for the squad he inherited; and if the past is anything to go by, I would say FSG will stick with their man for now; as Kenny Dalglish’ sacking proved, winning a cup wouldn’t have helped him: either way, the decision has already been made on Brendan Rodgers, and we’ll have to wait till summer to see what that decision is.