Vital Liverpool guest columnist Marc reveals his sadness over Brendan Rodgers’ departure and asks if he’s really to blame for Liverpool’s struggles…
The Brendan Rodgers experience is over after three and a half years and most supporters will probably accept he had taken us as far as he could.
In many ways it’s a great shame that it hasn’t worked out long-term because the intention of the owners in taking a younger manager without the glittering A-list CV and attempting to grow the club around him, is an admirable one, especially at a time when short-term thinking dominates the game.
It also shouldn’t be forgotten that the experiment very nearly paid off in the biggest way possible. Rodgers took Liverpool closer to the league title than any of his predecessors in the past 25 years and hopefully he will be remembered for that rather than as the man who looked a pale shadow of himself in recent months.
On a personal level I’m sad to see Rodgers fail because I admire the way he’s gone about learning the game (as previously mentioned on this site). He’s taken the time to learn from top foreign managers, including pre-mental collapse Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancellotti, and studied coaching methods from around the continent. Rodgers is much more than your typical British manager and for that he should be commended.
So Where Did It All Go Wrong?
Is he the architect of his own failure or just the fall guy for deeper problems within the club and its structure?
There’s no doubt whatsoever the decision to stick multiple cameras in Rodgers’ face just days into the job was a stupid one. The club agreeing to make Being Liverpool is up there with the signing of El Hadji Diouf when it comes to bad decisions. It didn’t do the club much good from a publicity point of view and it painted Rodgers as a David Brent-type character, a label which has stuck with him ever since.
There’s also no doubt his initial intention to impose a possession-based, attacking style of play was a good one in principle; pass and move is what Liverpool have traditionally been founded on after all. However, Rodgers soon strayed from those intentions and in more recent times the team was being setup simply not to lose rather than to impose itself on the opposition. Increasingly he looked like a man with a fork in a world of soup! Even during the thrill ride that was the 13/14 season, the team often played a mainly counter-attack based game, an approach alien to that which Rodgers originally championed. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself but still somewhat unusual from a manager purported to be a genius in a land of cavemen.
The signings of this past summer are arguably a much better crop than the business done ahead of the 14/15 campaign but that is countered by a series of inexplicable moves, or lack thereof. The fact no attempt was seemingly made to sign a ball playing CM to replace Steven Gerrard or the fact that one of the club’s only two remaining natural wingers, following the sale of Raheem Sterling, Lazar Markovic was shipped off closer to the Syrian border than any sensible person wants to be right now, was baffling.
All this is before we even mention those dreaded words ‘transfer committee’; a collective more shadowy than the Illuminati! How big or small was their influence in the downfall of Rodgers? We hear mixed press stories all the time about who really signed which player, even in the 48 hours since his sacking stories have emerged about Rodgers not really wanting Roberto Firmino and having his requests for Ashley Williams and Ryan Bertrand rejected by the committee. It will be interesting to see if Rodgers’ successor will be working within the same confines.
One thing we should be thankful for is the fact that Rodgers is leaving behind a better situation than Roy Hodgson did at the start of FSG’s tenure in charge, although that’s not exactly difficult. That said, his successor, who looks increasingly like being Jürgen Klopp, still has one hell of an in tray to sort through. Defensively the team has been pretty terrible for a long time, the striker situation post Luis Suarez is confused and up in the air and we desperately need an academy that starts producing again.
As a Liverpool supporter I dare say you’ve probably heard yourself described as ‘delusional’, ‘entitled’ and ‘stuck in the past’ – all nonsense of course. I’ve personnally never heard one single Reds fan say ‘well we deserve to win trophies because we used to do so back in the day’. All supporters really want is the club to use its full resources to put out the best team possible with a manager who isn’t afraid to take the fight to the opposition leading the way. Those things are the least any supporter, Liverpool or otherwise, should expect from their club. Hopefully FSG and the new man can finally deliver on this.
Other Articles By This Author
Are FSG Losing Interest?
We’ve Failed Steven Gerrard
Scouse Of Cards
A Dose of Hodgenfreude
Another Missed Opportunity?
Faith, Hope And Maybe Glory
Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcsterChief
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