Brendan Rodgers must be wondering where it’s all gone wrong. This time last year, everything looked so perfect. The Reds were flying high at the top of the Premier League table and scoring goals for fun.
Now however, the situation is look increasingly desperate, with hoards of disillusioned supporters beginning to turn their back on Rodgers and his methods. It’s a sad indictment of modern-day football that things can change so quickly – you go from being the best thing to ever happen, to the worst, in the blink of an eye.
Following Tuesday evening’s defeat at the hands of Hull City, Rodgers is undoubtedly facing the biggest test of his managerial career. He’ll now be facing up to the prospect of having no Champions League football next season and sizing up potential transfer targets to help turn things around.
But is he the right man to lead us into 2016? Can he be trusted to spend his money wisely and lead us back up the table after a year of disappointment. Our writers debate below…
Why Brendan Rodgers should stay:
(by Glen Harrington)
Let me start by drawing the predictable comparison between Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp – most peoples favourite to be the next Liverpool manager. I ask you – why is he any more qualified to lead the Reds forward?
After finishing second last season, Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund currently sit eighth in the Bundesliga table, 16 points adrift of Champions League qualification.
Much of the reason for this has been down to elements out of Klopp’s control. He lost his best player – Robert Lewandowski – to Bayern Munich at the start of the season, while he’s also been without Marco Reus and several other key players for much of the campaign due to injury. The players he brought in, such as Italian international striker Ciro Immobile, have not produced and his side have suffered as a result.
Now, doesn’t that all sound familiar? After losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge to the treatment room, Rodgers has had to make do without two players who scored over 50 goals between them last season. He took a gamble on Mario Balotelli as a result and it hasn’t paid off. That doesn’t make him a bad manager.
What’s more, Rodgers has done excellently to bring through youth talent. He put Raheem Sterling in the first team at 17, sending out a message that the youngster was good enough to play with the likes of Suarez. Sterling won the 2014 Golden Boy award for the best young player in Europe, and much of his improvement is down to Rodgers’ coaching. The Northern Irishman has also granted opportunities to the likes of Jon Flanagan, Jordan Rossiter, and Jordon Ibe – and promising talents like Sheyi Ojo will feel that if they stay at Liverpool, they will earn a chance under Brendan Rodgers. The manager is not afraid to play youngsters on merit, which is a brave quality few of his peers possess – especially when job security is so rare in their chosen profession.
Rodgers’ first two years at Liverpool were more successful that we could have dreamed. He came in at a time of instability and quickly set things right. Results picked up after the first couple of months and the arrivals of Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho – both Rodgers signings in January 2013 – sparked a fresh wave of optimism.
The start of his second season in charge came with fresh hopes of regaining a place in the Champions League. Most Liverpool fans were hoping for fourth. They certainly weren’t expecting it. Instead, what we got was an incredible year of football, full of goals and drama, with countless performances that will live long in the memory.
Ultimately, we paid the price for getting as close as we did. If we’d sneaked into fourth place then this season’s struggles would have been far more understandable. By getting within touching distance of the title, Rodgers raised expectations through the roof… this year was going to be our year.
Everything that could possibly go wrong this season, has gone wrong. Transfers, injuries, everything. Rodgers has made mistakes, there’s no denying that. But the progress he made during his first two years has earned him a stay of execution.
We need to show faith in his abilities and trust that he will turn things around next season. If he doesn’t, then that is the time to change – not now – when we risk becoming known for a revolving door policy with our managers, sacking them when the first thing goes wrong.
Why Brendan Rodgers needs to go:
(by Tom Simmons)
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back – a particularly prominent metaphor here. Our frustrations have been growing and growing for months now and we’ve simply had enough.
People will point fingers towards Luis Suarez’s summer departure as the reason for our struggles. That’s simply not acceptable. We’ve had two transfer windows since then, we’ve spent over £100m on new players. And yet, we’re no closer to replacing our talismanic Uruguayan than when he first walked out of Anfield for the final time.
That, simply-put, is gross mismanagement. It’s all well and good signing these young players and building for the future. But we’re looking around and wondering who we’re going to play – there’s no one left. Every team needs to be balanced with experience and proven quality and we simply don’t have enough of it.
A team of young, inexperienced players cannot be expected to produce in the big games. You could be forgiven for labelling us as ‘chokers’ this season – especially after our recent defeats to Manchester United, Arsenal and Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final. We’ve lost our touch in the big games.
Rodgers has lost the plot. The team is in a mess and we should move now while there’s a quality replacement – Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp – waiting in the wings. The time for action is now. If we give Rodgers another transfer window to try and save things then who knows where we might be this time next year.