Theres a scene in “Meet the Parents” where Robert De Niro (Jack) tells Ben Stiller (Greg) about his inner circle and how once you’re outside the circle, its extremely difficult to get back in. Liverpool FC have been outside the circle ever since Graeme Souness took over. Back in the early nineties the club stuck by Souness way too long as he blundered his way along with an aging squad, won an FA Cup in 1992 and we sat back and watched Manchester United take a stranglehold on British football.
Since Souness there have been periods of success, Gerard Houiller, Rafael Benitez and Kenny Dalglish have given us notable triumphs. Others, most notably Roy Hodgson and now Brendan Rodgers (this season) have lowered expectations to the point where we are almost lulled into thinking that 5th position or lower is okay. Sure we’ll try again next year. I don’t think Rodgers is a horrendous manager, he’s quite promising and with the right squad (refer to Luis Suarez in 2014) he can have success. I’m just not sure Liverpool FC can wait around while he finds his magic touch on a consistent basis. The point is that Liverpool FC is at a crossroads right now if you realize it or not. Manager, owners, players. The ambition and mindset is wrong.
“Give Rodgers another year” is a viable suggestion if the club wants to settle for mediocrity. Now is not the time to call for the manager to get more time. Raheem Sterling, as everyone now knows wants to leave the club. He went about this in the wrong manner with his agent but how has the club shown their ambition? What is the clubs ambition? Compete for fourth every year and then have the manager say “5th is par” for the season? That’s just not good enough. This process of lowering expectations was started originally by Hodgson. He bought Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky. If those two signings don’t signal “mediocre” I’m not sure what does. Rodgers has now made it his mission to put a spell over every Liverpool supporter by insisting everything is great in his post match press conferences. Whatever happened to sewing up Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling’s contracts before it was too late? Sterling should have been given a pay raise after a great season last year. How on earth is Gerrard being allowed to leave?
In order to try to not lose any more ground, Liverpool FC as a club needs a shake up. John Henry and Fenway Sports Group are happy to sit back and fund a few signings a year. In fact they gave Rodgers over $100m last summer, the Suarez money. What did we get? Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Mario Balotelli. Hardly a return on investment to be seen there at all. Rodgers spent badly. His fault. The fact he was unable to get his teams up for Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final shows that there are issues at hand. The point of Liverpool FC as you can see from their storied history has been to be as successful as possible. In order to do that some things need to change.
- The owners must move heaven and earth to be successful
Fairly simple, right? That could entail sacking Brendan Rodgers, spending $200m in the summer transfer market and revamping the stadium to pack in 85,000 plus every home game. This will ensure the club is seen as a destination, not a stepping stone as it is currently viewed by players and fans whether we want to admit it or not. Whether or not FSG are capable of doing this, I highly doubt it. If that is the case, get used to a dog fight for a Champions League spot every year.