All the talk of Brendan Rodgers’ future being on the line is surely stretching a point, isn’t it? Rodgers has been magnificent in the Anfield hot seat until this season. And this season has been beset by problems that surely only his harshest critic would lay directly at the manager’s door. Lest we forget, it is less than twelve months ago that we were realistically contemplating the prospect of a first Premiership title, a first title – lest we forget – in 25 years.
Rodgers is being quoted by some bookmakers as low as 8/1 to be the next Premiership manager to lose his job. That simply flies in the face of all logic. Never mind a managerial merry-go-round, this sort of logic looks more like a form of rushing roulette where we can’t wait to see what the next spin of the wheel might bring. Never mind about the mundane business of actually getting a decent side out on the park on a Saturday afternoon, this sort of thinking is more about the morbid curiosity of seeing where the little white ball might fall next. If you want to play roulette go and play the game properly. SuperCasino will be happy to see you.
But in the meantime, let’s get real. Talking about the manager being somehow to blame for Sturridge’s injury and Suarez’s departure – both of which are what is really hurting the side this season – is nearly as daft as Albert Riera insisting that Udinese aren’t worth playing with. How could they be if their players don’t even bother to turn up for matches?
Granted, the defensive lapses are a concern. But they were there last season too. And let’s be fair, wasn’t some of the attacking football something that made every Liverpool supporter walk just that little bit taller last term? Win lose or draw, didn’t it make you proud to be a Red? We gave drab functionalism a shot with poor old Roy Hodgson. That, most emphatically was not the brand of football that was required. In contrast, just think what Rodgers has given us so far.
So to talk about Rodgers being in jeopardy is just so much junk. Jamie Carragher’s rants are all well and good – and he’s right, we do need leadership and passion on the pitch – but that sort of reaction to a defeat is a positive in itself. Or at least it can be if that level of intensity can be translated to the men on the park. It is a long way from saying the manager is at fault.
And Rodgers’ own admission that things are sticky is no more than par for the course. What else is he supposed to say? “It’s OK, Fenway think I walk on water and four defeats on the spin is just one of those things, but hey ho, life goes on..?” All he was doing was taking the flak so that a bunch of players whose confidence has been shaken were kept out of the firing line.
The fact that Rodgers was prepared to talk about the possibility of losing his job is a pretty sure fire sign of the quality of the job that he is doing. It wasn’t a sign of frailty, it was the complete opposite, it was the mark of a man in complete control.
That old managerial roulette wheel will spin plenty more times before Brendan Rodgers’ number gets called.