Rafael Bentitez is now a 6/1 shot to become Liverpool’s next manager. According to Bluesq and various other media and betting news sources the Spaniard is now favourite to take over from Rodgers, ahead of the likes of Frank de Boer, Laurent Blanc and Ronald Koeman. Should Liverpool fans even be considering life after Rodgers though? I would argue that he still has a lot to offer the Anfield faithful.
Guiding Liverpool to second in the Premier League table last year (their highest finish since 2008-09 when Benitez was in charge) was a huge achievement by anyone’s standards, and the fact that they were still in the title race on the last day of the season cannot be overlooked. Despite this, 2014-15 has started disappointingly for the Reds, who are currently sat in 11th place on 14 points, and there have been calls for Rodgers to be relieved of his duties.
Regardless of results this season, Brendan Rodgers is owed time by the Liverpool board because of the club’s over-achievement last year. Having been forced into selling his one truly world-class player, Luis Suarez, at the end of last season it was always going to be difficult to continue to compete this time round and, to compound Rodgers’ problems his second biggest threat, Daniel Sturridge, has been missing through injury for much of the last few months.
Pressure on Captain
In the absence of goals from Liverpool’s front men in the past, Steven Gerrard has always been relied upon to deliver the goods but he has scored just twice in the league so far this season. The 34 year old is beginning to show his age after enjoying a marvellous season last year but there is little that Rodgers can do to protect him. Having already moved Gerrard into a holding role last season, Rodgers can do nothing about the added games and pressure that the Champions League has brought and he does not have the depth of squad to rotate his captain out.
Many of Rodgers’ summer signings have failed to deliver the goods, with the likes of Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren commanding big fees but so far failing to live up to their price tags. If Rodgers has one failing, and could legitimately come under scrutiny for one thing, then it is the way in which he invested the Suarez fortune. Having built his own side, however, Rodgers should be given the chance to turn it in to a long-term success. Talk of a Benitez return is unsettling and the Liverpool hierarchy should act to stop any rumours in their tracks.