The ONE major deal that has highlighted Rodgers’ Anfield failure.
It seems fitting that a tame 1-1 draw with Norwich City looks to have done it, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Brendan Rodgers will not last at Liverpool – and should not.
Rash? Knee-jerk? After all, it seems such a short time ago that Rodgers’ dazzling side was blowing away these same opponents 5-1, with Luis Suarez in the form of his life and part of a major change for the Merseyside giants – their charismatic young manager could be about to restore the glory years to the club.
Except that, rather than just being part of a team on the up, Suarez was THE sole reason that Liverpool side came so close to winning the Premier League title. A player that good, playing with that amount of confidence, really can turn scrappy 1-0 wins into thrashings, and perhaps turn a team bad enough to draw 1-1 with Norwich into one that can win 5-1. Suarez scored four goals that night, most of which were individual moments of inspiration, rather than any particularly good football from the rest of his team.
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Without that calibre of striker up front, Rodgers’ possession-based style of play has been exposed as lacking a cutting edge and not being sophisticated enough to mount a serious title challenge, or even to finish in the Premier League top four. Of course, what club could cope with losing a player as good as Suarez? Still, it says as much about the Reds boss that he has had an entire two summers to solve this problem, and the only answers he has come up with have been: Mario Balotelli and Christian Benteke. Give the latter time, of course, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever be close to the Uruguayan’s level, and one-goal Balotelli was a spectacular error of judgement, up there with the worst made by any Liverpool manager, and it’s fair to say there have been a few.
Away from dismantling that stunning attack that scored 101 goals in 2013/14 (Raheem Sterling also left for Manchester City this summer, with Rodgers widely thought to be the main problem), the Liverpool manager has totally failed to show any signs that he can organise a defence. It’s easy to forget that the 13/14 team let in 50 goals in the league – more than any other side in the top five – and Rodgers has spent huge amounts on players like Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren in an attempt to fix the problem. On the subject of mammoth spending…let’s not even go there.
Liverpool need to act fast. Giving managers time is admirable, but in his fourth season at Anfield it’s becoming all too obvious that the Rodgers experiment is failing. It’s not often that top managers like Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp are both available, and that is reason enough to be clinical, unforgiving and make the move for an upgrade.