Rodgers Rumbled – Time To Pull The Trigger
In the 123-year history of Liverpool football club, they have had a grand total of just 18 full-time managers; five of which have been appointed in the last twenty years – a slightly turbulent era compared to the previous century.
If that indicates anything, it’s that they generally don’t sack managers willy-nilly at Anfield – Roy Hodgson’s disastrous six months’ tenure aside. Custodians are generally afforded time and patience to get it right, a possible relic of a bygone era.
Time To Say Goodbye
Many older, more conservative Reds’ fans will loathe the idea of breaking with tradition but it’s undoubtedly edging ever closer to the point at which the Liverpool board need to bite the bullet and pull the trigger on Brendan Rodgers.
It has been three years under the Antrim man now and, in truth, the side hasn’t progressed in that time. Last year’s title charge was a revelation as much as it was a surprise. They thrilled and wowed the world with swashbuckling football but the regression since has been stark in contrast.
Sandwiched either side of that exhilarating second season has been two campaigns of abject mediocrity that belies a squad capable of so much more and a financial outlay that, in Rodgers’ own words more or less, should have a side challenging for titles.
There have been mitigating circumstances, of course. The loss of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and the continued injuries to Daniel Sturridge have jammed two pretty gigantic spanners in the works but transfers – and new contracts – have been handled badly.
The aim of buying young and talented is ideal, in theory, but not without risk. To consolidate their Top Four credentials, a couple of big splashes for world class names would have complemented the overall strategy. If that was the question, and Mario Balotelli was the answer, then someone isn’t doing their job properly.
The final day 6-1 demolition at Stoke hinted at a fractured relationship. Not so much between the players themselves – the display of camaraderie on that brilliant video showed otherwise – but between the players and their manager.
Yes it was a nothing game – an irrelevancy – but they didn’t just lose by a couple of goals – it was the worst defeat in the club’s history. Against Stoke. It’s entirely possible that Rodgers has lost this squad.
If sacking the former Swansea manager seems a horrible, unseemly prospect to stomach for anyone connected with the club, there are small crumbs of comfort in the fact that options are readily available. In fact, this is probably the most ideal time to be looking for a world class manager.
Carlo Ancelotti has just been incredibly sacked by Real Madrid despite winning La Decima and garnering the club’s best ever managerial win percentage of 75%.
Jurgen Klopp is also out of work having left Borussia Dortmund after seven years of the most romantic of journeys. Marcelo Bielsa – or El Loco as he’s known on the continent – looks like he could be leaving Marseille after a typically whirlwind year in the south of France.
Are any of these names realistic appointments? Of course they are. They may have just finished 6th but Liverpool remain a giant of world football and a bastion of temptation for most coaches.
Klopp would be the dream and one imagines he could be enticed by the prospect of being given the reins of another flailing mammoth in need of resuscitation and reconstruction.
FSG’s idealist notion of having a manager that can construct a dynasty, an idea that harks back to the eras of Skankly, Paisley & Fagan, is romantic and yet unrealistic. Those days are long gone. Modern football has no memory. It has no patience. It wants everything yesterday.
Brendan Rodgers has run the gauntlet for three years now and has been found wanting. It’s time for number 19 to touch the famous ‘This is Anfield’ sign.