Poll: Is it time Liverpool let Brendan Rodgers go?

Three seasons and over £200m later and Liverpool are no further on than they were when Brendan Rodgers arrived, arguably further back. More time, or time for a change?

ONE year ago Liverpool had just come to the end of a season that had included a very much unexpected title challenge, thwarted at the end by defeat to a very defensive Chelsea and a collapse at Crystal Palace. It all felt very promising, and despite missing out on the league the Reds were back in the Champions League.

It felt like the dawn of a new era, but the reality of this season suggests it was far from it. That long awaited return to the Champions League is best forgotten with just one win in six games and that win, at home to the group’s bottom side, was far from convincing. Liverpool dropped into the Europa League and then dropped straight out of that. 

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In the league Liverpool suffered embarrassing defeat after embarrassing defeat with the manager blaming a lack of coaching time as a major problem – a problem every manager of a team playing in Europe faces. He also referred to the team being in transition after introducing some new faces, yet many of the new faces struggled to get games or to play in their natural positions.

Those new faces cost almost £120m and were expected to vastly improve the team, to help Liverpool at the very least consolidate their place in the top four and help bring about a reasonable run, at least into the knockout stages, in the European Cup. They did nothing of the sort, and despite getting £75m from the sale of one striker, Luis Suarez, Rodgers would on the whole give up on the two strikers he brought in instead (for a total of £20m) and play a winger as centre-forward. When he played a centre-forward, that is.

That spending spree started a matter of weeks after Rodgers had said: “Look at Tottenham, you spend over £100-odd million you’d expect to be challenging for the league.”  By October Rodgers was talking about transition and claiming that in Liverpool’s case: “The players we brought in were not really established.” So spending £100m or over doesn’t mean you should challenge for the title after all, it seemed. “It may be difficult for other people to understand,” he added.

What people do understand, usually, is that the whole reason Rodgers got the job is because Liverpool as a club are striving for success at home and in Europe and with us yet to see any of that since he came in questions are going to be asked.

What target was he given when the owners handed him that three year deal initially? Strangely, he now seems to suggest the plan was for success to arrive in the fourth year of his three year contract. “We set out on a journey here two-and-a-bit years ago,” he said in October, “To get the club back to the elite level in European and domestic competition. And then, two years earlier than we expected, we did that.”

Did Rodgers really get the job after telling John Henry he wouldn’t be able to get Liverpool “back to the elite level” until a year after his three year deal ran out? Or was it a rewriting of history designed to distract and to lower expectations? We’ve had a few of those.

On a positive note this season saw Liverpool get past the quarter finals of a cup competition for the first time in Rodgers’ Anfield stint, getting to the semis in both domestic cups. The League Cup exit to Chelsea was frustrating but what happened at Wembley against Aston Villa in the FA Cup was embarrassing. A word used for too often this season.

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The middle bit of the season – when there was no European football taking his coaching time away from him – Liverpool did quite well. Performances weren’t always convincing and more than once it took a spectacular or perhaps fortunate goal to win the points but by and large Liverpool were winning the points.

At least they were, until some decent opposition and experienced coaches came their way and perhaps that’s when the season really fell apart. Van Gaal and Wenger have been around long enough to work out the system Rodgers had started to do well with and after that panic seemed to set in. How many formations did we see in the Villa semi-final? There clearly wasn’t enough coaching time now even with games a week apart.

Perhaps it doesn’t help that the team don’t look like they want to play for him. Rumours from the dressing room of bust-ups and a breakdown of trust are coming from various sources and that’s without mentioning Raheem Sterling. Even allowing for exaggeration and the impact a miserable time on the pitch will have on morale it really is a worry.

You may not agree that Rodgers needs to leave and judging by some of the responses I’ve had over the course of the season some people might even ditch Liverpool if they sack him and follow him to wherever he goes to next. Maybe not, but at times he’s been idolised more than Shankly despite having less to show than any Reds manager – Hodgson aside – in half a century.

You may not agree Rodgers leaves to need because you may feel top six is about “par” for Liverpool and that we are doomed to our fate thanks to FFP. Each to their own, but to bring Shanks back up can you imagine him having that kind of attitude? Not to think there’s a bigger prize to fight for and that it’s worth fighting for? When Rodgers said “par” did he reflect the views of the whole club, by suggesting not so much that 5th (which we didn’t even manage) was “par” but that it was perfectly acceptable as our long term target?

To those who think Rodgers should stay but that 6th, no silverware and being 5-0 down at half-time to Stoke – Stoke! – is unacceptable  what kind of ideas do you have in mind to improve things?

In reality Rodgers being sacked does not solve all Liverpool’s problems but if he stays and no other changes are made it suggests Liverpool, under the “stewardship” of FSG and Mike Gordon, under the “leadership” of Ian Ayre, are happy to tread water in the bottom half of the top half of the table as long as the tills keep ringing, the turnstiles keep turning and the TV cash keeps flowing.

Brendan Rodgers tried, he undoubtedly did his best, but for everyone’s sake it’s time he moved on. As we are so often reminded, he is still young and still learning, which means he still has time to become the kind of boss that clubs like Liverpool need. As of now though, the two are nowhere near a good fit.

This piece was prompted by seeing results of a poll in the Mirror, which asked if LFC should swap Rodgers for Klopp, which had well over 80% voting for Klopp. That was a surprise, to say the least, I didn’t realise so many had gone past the tipping point.

If that’s indicative, and if he stays, he can’t even afford to lose a pre-season game.

Whoever Liverpool do get they must have at least the kind of experience Klopp has, this is no time to go for another experimental choice.

The same applies elsewhere in the club. The time for playing games off the pitch is over, it’s time to get serious and stop treating LFC as an experiment safe in the knowledge the fanatical support will keep it afloat and lucrative. The fanatical support will turn on the owners if they don’t start to give the impression they not only care about the club but can remember where it is.

Liverpool FC still has great potential, but that potential is in danger of dying out and it may take a long time to ever get it back. There are a lot of problems to fix at Anfield, undoubtedly, but should that start with or include the manager?

Vote now.

23 comments

  • Spoonthumb

    As fans we are left bemused so many times by players lack of loyalty to the club and the fans yet here we are ready to dump the manager because he’s not got results. He deserves another season at least. It’s not his fault Suarez left and Sturridge has been out for so long. The team needs our support when things are not going our way and not just when they are. Rodgers will have learnt from his time at Anfield. Let’s give him our faith and another season. If he comes good he will be here for many years of glory. Only Benitez can rival BR’s passion for LFC. Lets put a stop to these long term injuries!

  • Frank Jones

    I’ve supported my club for over 50 years and I’ve never seen it in such a state. The link with the dynasty that made us great has almost been broken. Only the King is left who worked under Paisley and thus the spirit of the incredible Shankly. He alone under the present regime really knows what ‘par’ is for Liverpool FC- it’s winning. Rodgers, his second rate brother in law and look at me Ayres need to be moved on. Kenny and, say Barnes, need to be elevated to standard bearers for our great club and a top manager – Klop, brought in to raise ‘par’ to first. We need a winning mentality again and not stupid dossiers, excuses and excruciating, endless media appearances.
    If FSG are unable or unwilling to do this, then we as supporters need to let them know through any means possiblethat they are unwelcome ‘custodians’ of our, still great, club.

    • You mention ‘par is winning’ like we have a god given right. The problem there is Utd feel their ‘par’ is winning. So do Chelsea and even City. In Europe Barca and Real do too. Turning the clocks back to the past is not the answer and in fact, will leave us even further afield.

      • Kate Stephens

        I take your point Robin but I have never regarded LFC as having as “God given right” to win. What I have always expected is that winning was everything we aimed for, and not winning was unacceptable and could not be regarded as ‘par’. The past had some pretty good things going for it and that mentality is something we need to regain. Too many times over the recent past losing has been excused e.g. injuries, not enough coaching time, bad luck and even the pitch.

        • Do you think Rodgers aims to win? Of course he does. The whole club wants to win. My point is it’s not as simple as expecting to win or even wanting to win. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think Rodgers has been good enough this season and worry about whether he has enough to take us forward but he’s certainly had some bad luck / been on the end of some bad choices. I think the problem for Liverpool is the owners idea of how to get success is a lot longer term than us fans want. Harking back to the past will get us nowhere. The biggest thing we can learn from the past is that in our golden period we had the best strikers and the best defence. If we don’t have that then the manager will change little. The league table can be predicted from day one by looking at the players.

  • SuarezTooth

    The league and his terrible transfer record aside, there were 3 games where Rodgers had the chance to win over doubting fans: Villa in the FA Cup, Besiktas and Basel. He miserably failed in all of them. There was no proper game plan, no passion, no grinding out results, no leadership on and off the pitch. If he cannot set up the team for important games like that, why are fans supposed to believe he’ll learn it over the summer? Injuries and players sales happen but that is no excuse for coming short against inferior opposition all the time when it matters. Rodgers has to leave now, starting all over again will cause less damage than keeping a manager that lost a lot of fans, the dressing room and all important games.

  • RedHood

    Just ask yourself a question: would Rodgers survive this season at clubs like Bayern, Chelsea, Real, ManUtd? No chance, these clubs always react quickly and none of them suffer from a lack of trophies. We laughed at Moyes last season but then ManUtd went and signed a world class manager. If we’re not doing the same, we’ll remain a laughing stock, not only in English but in European football.

  • mikael

    A man who has lost his home is not worthy of being LFC Manager. the greatest Managers understand the import of stable homes. If he lacks the discipline to remain to his marriage oath, he definitely lacks the discipline to properly handle the LFC dressing room. There was/is a reason Shanks, Paisley, Fagan, Ferguson, Mourinho, Del Bosque all have stable homes. If you cannot convince your blood relations (wife, children) to buy into your vision, how can you convince outsiders to?

  • Ahmed Dumbuya

    I agree with the last person.The main problem is that FSG is not ready to compete.If they are ready like Manchester United,they will get rid of the inmature and Unexperienced Rogers and brought in experinced and well determined Manager.

  • Havush

    I think Brendan deserves one more season here at Anfield.I know this last season it was a really tough one, but it couldnt be better without suarez and sturridge with injuries.Maybe with some crucial transerfs(2-3) the next season could be the one that will bring the trophy that we want most.And one more thing, we should always support our team and manager, cuz our club is special and we are special.

  • tessa

    SACK BR! HE IS A DISGRACE TO FOOTBALL AND MORE SO LIVERPOOL FC!!

  • Adam

    Please please SACK BR,,

  • Theo

    If I could vote for BR to get sacked 100 000 times, I would.
    SACK RODGERS NOW.

  • Joe

    The players have stopped playing for Rodgers, he realizes that because in his post game interview after the 6-1 thrashing he said that he wasn’t surprised by the performance !!

    Time to go !!!

  • trigger

    I do not like revolving managers, but have to say that BR really lost the plot this year. Yes, he had some bad luck, but so does every club. It’s not the losses so much as how we lost. The team seemed to quit on him. With quality managers possibly available…why not go a different direction? Liverpool needs a quality, universally respected manager. BR ain’t it. FSG needs to realize that managers in football really can make a difference and that simply buying potential doesn’t cut it. We need some ready made players, not all young potentials. Guess what – the longer you are out of the CL, the more irrelevant you become. Quality players today don’t care about history, they care about the present. FSG wake Up!

  • Kieran

    I used to think BR was the right man to take Liverpool back to the top, but he has made too many mistakes. For me the start of it was playing a weakened team against Real Madrid, embarrassing, transfer market has been terrible bar a few players and he has let too many good players leave! He doesn’t seem able to sort out the defence and then Stoke! It’s the worse I have ever saw. The owners need to change their philosophy as well and buy experienced players.

  • Steve*8

    Reading a lot of good news about Klopp coming, I just pray it comes true. SACK BRENDA! AND YES I DID MEAN BRENDA!! SACK HIM, NOW!

  • AdrienReeve

    BRENDA 😉 I love that Steve, very funny.
    its time up Rodgers, you know it and so do we.
    sack him!

  • paul t

    please go brendan.

  • paul t

    newcastle be a good destination for brendan

  • Iky

    I am not sure what the answer is all we all want is for Liverpool to be successful Last season was terrible I am not sure if Brendon must stay or go there are so many reason to say yes but maybe the same to say no … ….To start all over again with a new manager means exactly that and who knows if that will mean instant success ? probably not .What I do wish is that he would stop being so incredibly friendly to all the other managers before nearly every game … a hug a cuddle and a chat not on really Why does he not use that energy in his own team I never ever saw Sir Alex Ferguson whose success talks for itself being everybody’s buddy or any other Liverpool manager or other premiership manager being so friendly to all the opposition ….

  • Julian8

    If I messed up in my job every day for 3 years and cost my company 215 million pounds, would I still have my job??

    Time to go BR, SACK HIM NOW!!!!!