Daniel Sturridge delivered Brendan Rodgers yet another injury blow this week to add to the Norther Irishman’s woes. Adding to a defence that leaks more than Liza’s Bucket and a remaining attack that’s as fearsome as a lion cub’s growl, the Liverpool boss is facing his toughest test yet without question. Is his job on the line?
Seeing as football is a results game, and Liverpool for the moment aren’t getting any – well, not good ones anyway – it’s reasonable to accept it is. Poor transfer market dealings, in my opinion have lead the Anfield club to their current predicament. With £100m worth of stadium development to pay for, and arguably half that amount again spent again on ineffective signings, a lack of revenue from European football of any sort, let alone the Champions League could well put paid to Rodgers and his much-lauded 200-page football philosophy document. Last season’s exploits should have been built on but this doesn’t seem to have happened with any degree of success. Sentiment is not something that provides much security in football, if any at all. I’m a fan of Rodgers but that said, I’m not blind to reality. The difference in fortunes of both the Reds and Chelsea since last season is almost embarrassing.
This morning I read Jeremy Wilson’s article in The Telegraph, where Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp admits to being open to working in England. Klopp at 47 years-old with two Bundesliga titles, two DFL Supercup’s and a Champions League final to his name would certainly be attractive to any club. The question of whether he would bring more to Liverpool than Rodgers is practically nonexistent. Of course he would. I’ve watched Liverpool’s season disintegrate to the current level and asked myself: What would I do if I were John W. Henry? “Wait” would have been my reply up to now. The club have been unlucky with injuries to two key players in Sturridge and John Flanagan. Mamadou Sakho, in my opinion is clearly a loss although Rodgers doesn’t seem to share that view because he was dropped in favour of Martin Skrtel before he got injured. But how long do you wait for? Is that a good enough reason to wait?
The costs of signings and stadium redevelopment can’t wait forever and while a degree of patience is required in all things, there’s a time where one must be practical and proactive. My personal opinion, considering Rodgers had very little top level management experience, before coming to Liverpool I would try to allow him to grow with the club. Even if it meant relegation. It takes time to build a legacy and that’s one of the reasons why Liverpool have had the success they’ve had in the past. Patience and continuity. However, the fact is, I haven’t pumped £200m plus into the club and so my opinion isn’t really worth much. Had I put that amount of cash in, then chances are I’d think differently than I do now.
What makes Klopp attractive is that he’s built something at Dortmund, despite their current poor showing of lying 15th in the league. He’s been there for seven years. On the question of legacy, he said: “OK now I can work as a normal coach, two or three years – next club, next city…” This was his intention on arriving at the Westfalenstadion. Fact is, this is how most footballing periods of success begin. This even supports my view about keeping Rodgers on board. The difference is I believe, the amount of money Rodgers has had to spend. This is ultimately what will define him this season – and his tenure.
It’s very unlikely that this current Liverpool team will qualify for European football this season. Their main hope is that other contenders such as Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham continue to struggle also and that dark horses Southampton and West Ham fall away. You can’t see them improving as a team this is for sure. Without Sturridge the team is struggling and this is only due to the squad depth being poor. Despite an expensive effort to improve it, there is no suitable back up. Every match is a must-win for the team now. I imagine Liverpool are favourites to win tomorrow when they travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace. The fact is though, it’s 50-50 at best. Evens at best on the form of both sides. If you can’t score and you’re defence is shite, you can’t expect to be favourites.
I’ll be watching tomorrow, like most supporters. So, I suspect may John W. Henry too. Call me a cynic, but he may well have had a chat already with a certain 47 year-old German to see how he fancies a move to the north-west of England.
Follow me on Twitter: @Mrbengreen