Brendan Rodgers is a relatively young manager. Having had spells at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and then taking on the Swansea job himself, he rose quite quickly by getting a job at Liverpool relatively early in his managerial career. Rodgers has shown his stubbornness many times during his short Anfield career. His press conferences are usually an opportunity to air grievances about transfer policy or ask for a new contract for his captain. Although the Northern Irishman has not frustrated Liverpool supporters to a Rafa Benitez type level yet, his mindset and ego will make for rougher times ahead. The key is that Liverpool should stick with their young manager and work through the growing pains.
The standard of defending currently being displayed at Anfield would cause Jamie Carragher to rip his hair out if he still played for the club. Dejan Lovren looks lost on so many levels and hasn’t been scapegoated to the extent that Mario Balotelli has. Strange how the British media only go after Italian for being at fault. In case you missed it, Balotelli swapping shirts with Pepe at half time in the Real Madrid game at Anfield wasn’t his best judgement. Plain and simple, at 0-3 down he shouldn’t have done it. Was it the worst thing ever done? No, not even close but according to some high profile journalists in England, Balotelli’s shirt swap was the reason Ebola and the Holocaust ever happened. Lovren should be dropped. The same can be said of Glen Johnson. Confidence is at an all time low on the current Liverpool team.
When it comes to Steven Gerrard, Brendan Rodgers is the chairman of the SG fan club and probably sleeps under a poster of him. Okay, thats maybe a little too much but the manager has stuck with Gerrard when the defensive midfield position has been getting over run and others (Lucas Leiva & Joe Allen) have paid with their starting positions. The manager has backed away from the big decisions. Comparing him to Rafa (this is not an “I love Rafa” piece), the Spaniard didn’t shy away from big decisions. Reference Lucas replacing Gerrard in the Merseyside derby. Rodgers has definitely intimated that all the signings this summer were not of his choosing, particularly Balotelli. Since signing the Italian, Rodgers’ Liverpool have gotten away from the diamond formation that served them so well. They now find themselves struggling for form and someone to lead the way. This was formally done by a certain Mr Luis Suarez.
When Rodgers does have players that fit into his ideal system the football flows and with it the results. Last season proved this. Liverpool spent over one hundred million pounds. They also sold quite a few players, however, the money was there to be spent. Instead of buying a thirty or forty million pound striker the club left it late and picked up a cut price Balotelli. Manchester United proved everyone has a price with their signings of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao. Liverpool always seem to spread their funds on “possible future stars”. A policy that seems to have dated back to Gerard Houllier’s regime when Anthony Le Tallec, the next Zinedine Zidane never materialized and was the attacking equivalent of Djimi Traore.
Brendan Rodgers is up against his biggest challenge to date in turning around this Liverpool side. His job may be on the line come Christmas time if the reds are not on course for the top four. Right now wipe away any thought of challenging for the league. Finishing top four and qualifying for the next round of the champions league would be an over achievement based on current form. Can Rodgers get it right at Liverpool? Yes, I believe he can. His transfer policy wasn’t entirely his own choosing and now he must seize control of that for January and next summer. Rodgers has enough potential to be given more time. I don’t believe in sacking managers in quick successions unless they are totally out of touch with the Liverpool way. Please reference Roy Hodgson. This transfer policy, should he gain 100% control would lead him down a road of living and dying by the success of his signings. There will be no room to complain to John Henry and co should he fail from then on out. Let’s see what January brings.
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