The Liverpool Echo called it inevitable; Brendan Rodgers thought it was funny; whatever your thought on the banner that flew over Anfield prior to Saturday’s game with QPR, it remains one of Sunday’s biggest talking points.
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While suggestions of Rodgers being sacked should hopefully be cooled by this weekend’s victory, it’s unlikely to put an end to the constant speculation regarding his future, particularly from the tabloids.
Granted, every supporter is allowed their own opinion on the situation. Rodgers would no doubt be the first to admit that he’s mistakes as Liverpool manager, particularly this season, with so many under-par performances.
However, to suggest that he should be replaced by Rafael Benitez – a man who, despite the success he enjoyed in his early years at Anfield, left us in a real mess, is nothing short of ludicrous.
After all, it’s a mess that Brendan Rodgers and FSG are still helping sort out. Let’s look at the team Benitez played in his final game in charge – a goalless draw at Hull City in May 2010. It included names such as Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Alberto Aquilani, Ryan Babel and Nabil El Zhar.
Diego Cavalieri, Philipp Degen, Daniel Ayala, Jack Robinson, David N’Gog and Dani Pacheco made up a less that inspiring substitutes bench alongside Martin Skrtel. Can you tell me we’re not in a better position now?
We finished that season seventh in the Premier League, our third successive year without a trophy, while we went out in the third round of the FA Cup and the League Cup. Benitez alienated several of the key players with his comments (via BBC Sport) and never recovered from so nearly clinching the top flight title the previous year.
It was five years before Rodgers guided us back into the Champions League. While he too has struggled to live up to the expectations of a second place finish and such a near miss on the title, he has had to pick up the pieces from losing his two best players from the previous season – the departed Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge.
Despite all the problems with injuries and the constant criticism on social media – something Benitez was virtually spared in the pre-Twitter era – Rodgers has led us to two semi-finals and, with three games remaining, still has a chance of making the top four.
Benitez has fared little better since leaving Liverpool. He was sacked by Inter Milan, ridiculed at Chelsea and has since been unable to revolutionise Napoli, despite spending millions in the transfer window. We all have wonderful memories of the Spaniard’s time at the club but that time is over.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rodgers deserves another season and another two transfer windows to set things right. By all accounts, he’s preparing to splash the cash and is targeting marquee arrivals during the summer (via The Telegraph).
I honestly believe that we’re a top striker and midfielder away from being back where we were last year – challenging for the title. We need the goals to help Daniel Sturridge, who can’t be relied upon so heavily with his injury record. And we need a midfielder capable of succeeding Steven Gerrard. Easier said than done, but not impossible.
Imagine how strong we could be if we add those two players to the quality set of young stars we already have at our disposal – Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling, Emre Can, Jordon Ibe, Jordan Henderson, Alberto Moreno etc.
Let’s get behind Brendan Rodgers, as Liverpool fans have always got behind our managers in the past. Let’s remember what makes us special as a football club – the fact that we support those in Red through thick and thin, no matter what!