Change – for Stability – is Required at Liverpool

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I’ve had the distinct honour and privilege to be invited onto the panel of Anfield Index’s own Nina Kauser Show this season. Being part of such a popular call in show immediately after a defeat can be tough, with emotions very raw. Sometimes that can exact reactions that, with the benefit of hindsight and reflection, are considered an exaggeration.

Change for Stability

Following a performance as atrocious as the 6-1 defeat to Stoke, if you can even call it a performance, feelings were always going to run high. My standpoint was absolute and even with time to reflect and digest, it hasn’t changed a bit: Brendan Rodgers’ tenure as Liverpool manager has become untenable.

Saying a manager has “lost the dressing room” has become something of a cliché too often used in football. Whether or not Rodgers has actually “lost the dressing room” is likely to be information we’ll only find out in years to come, but there’s clearly something not right behind the scenes.

Although it wasn’t by any means the first time this season that we’ve seen an insipid performance that lacked spirit, direction, passion, togetherness and any semblance of an effective game plan, it was by far the worst. To look so disinterested, disorganised and dysfunctional was anything but normal.

I was asked on Nina’s post-match show, how does Rodgers stay in his job? My answer now is the same as it was then: he cannot. That judgement is not just based on the most woeful Liverpool performance in living memory. It’s Villa at home, West Ham away, Hull at home, Newcastle away, Palace away, Sunderland at home, Leicester at home, United at home, Arsenal away, Villa at Wembley, Hull away and Palace at home. It truly is an accumulation of this season and where we are after 3 years of Brendan Rodgers in charge.

Although I’m not a particularly big stats guy, here are some pretty damning statistics from the 2014/15 season: 33 of Liverpool’s 62 points (53%) came from that 13 game mid-season unbeaten run, which included scoring 24 goals and conceding 8. That means we took just 29 points from the remaining 25 games, scoring only 28 goals and conceding an alarming 40. That is, at best, lower mid table form from 66% of our Premier League season.

Those are frightening statistics for a club that aspires to be playing Champions League football and competing for trophies.

As I’ve said before, you’d expect a manager to have a clear and distinct style, plan, identity and direction after 3 years. We have none of those. The lack of effective pre-game planning and the substantial amount of in-game chopping and changing has been, quite frankly, embarrassing. As too, has been the number of calamitous, toothless and insipid displays.

So, in terms of an argument for Brendan Rodgers to keep his job; I’ve heard last season being used as a reason to give him another chance. I’m sorry, but what he achieved last season is what kept him in a job back in December. That was credit he’d earned, but those credits have been used up now. Stability, on the face of it, is the only other viable one. Normally, not changing a manager equals stability. However, in this case, I believe not making the change this summer would be a bigger threat to stability than keeping him. That may sound like a idiosyncrasy, but if Rodgers stays, he will inevitably be given more money to spend. Judging by our reported targets and his record in the transfer market, that’s not an inspiring thought. In all likelihood, given the direction we’re heading and the mounting pressure – he wouldn’t last the season and could even be gone by Christmas, which means another season gone and the club falling further behind in the process.

So, for the short and long term interest of the club and in the cold light of day with a uniquely high number of excellent candidates available, change is imperative for Liverpool Football Club.

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  1. Hundred percent right, his acquisition, the time taken to find a solution to tactical problems. over 100 millions spent, second in 2013/ 2014. the club needed two r 3 players to improve but not a bunch, so why? it shows rogers doesn,t knw what a team needs to improve? so much prooblem in defense why? why not have someone who just look at the defense? 2013/2014 no european cup n early elimination from other cps , again it shows with BR LFC cannot compete on mant fronts

  2. Great post and agree with all that was said. I’ve been on a few LFC based sites since the end of the season and the number of people who have stated BR should stay in the job based on 2013/2014 season is astounding! Don’t get me wrong it was a really exciting season, to see LFC make a sustained challenge for the league was truly fantastic. However, what the BR apologist failed to see in the cold light of day is he failed to take advantage of the situation the team found itself in with 3 games to go. A more experienced/pragmatic/less egotistical manager would have taken the point that Chelsea were clearly looking for and then focused on the last two games which would have more than likely ended as victories(the game against Crystal Palace only ended 3-3 because of trying to chase the goal diff of Man City) and a first league title since 1990.

    I’m also fed up hearing about the failure of the transfer committee, the tc were not responsible for team selection, the tc were not responsible for tactics and the tc were not responsible for galvanising the players when they needed to dig deep. Granted I would have preferred Loic Remy over Balotelli but other than that the players brought in should have been more than good enough to qualify from that CL group and at the very least secure 4th spot.

    The sole responsibility for the failure of LFC to make progress in the 3 seasons he has been at the club fall squarely on the shoulders of Brendan Rodgers, he has had ample backing from FSG in terms of investment and he should not be kept in post to keep taking the club backwards.

    • A striker makes all the difference to a team. Look at Chelsea last year and this. I have some frustrations with Rodgers which are similar to Arsenal fans frustrations.

      My main question is why can’t we get the best out of Balotelli and lambert?

      A great manager can play different styles in different games. This gives you variations and keeps people guessing.

      There are three types of managers: those that aim to impose play, those that react and those that control your attacks and counter. Rodgers, Pulis and Mourinho/Benitez.

      Wenger has joined the Mourinho but can Rodgers change?

      A managers job is to win with the tools he has. Ancellotti did that at Parma, Juve, Milan, Chelsea, PSG and madrid.

      We need a manager who can play to our strengths and not be so predictable.

  3. The author of this article sound just as thick as Adrian Durham. The first rational, levelheaded piece I read about Rodgers in the last few months was from Martin Samuel – a true journalist who know the sport and does the research.
    The reason why Brendan keeps his job is due to the ruler to ran safer policy where he only has about20% say in who comes and who goes. In effect Rodgers works with the best of a bad bunch of signings which he had hardly any input of bringing them in.
    Many argue that Chelsea, ManU also bring in players without the managers input often however the difference is that they bring in most often than not quality players who have performed at the highest level where as Brendan is presented with youth and one season wonders from small teams!

    • I’ve never claimed to be as good a writer as an expeienced, award-winning professional; I just do this for pleasure. But thanks for taking the time to read my article, all the same.

  4. I agree 1000%!!! What I have seen from Rodgers is exactly what I feared when he was appointed; the job is too big for him! His decision making is extremely poor, e.g.Real Madrid! Good man-management is essential and not only was that effectively throwing in the towel (not the LFC or Gerrard way!), it was also a kick in the teeth for all those who worked their nuts off to get us there! Would any top manager do that?! Suarez, was the reason for last season. His work rate, ability and reliance galvanised the team for whom he made space. It was not Rodgers. All he had to do was sort our defence but he couldn’t and still hasn’t even done that! I think this lost us our vice captain and if he had played when fit, we wouldn’t have been chasing that goal diff and would have won the league! Not to mention probably qualified for CL this season! BR cannot galvanise the team…..semi-final!! Then there’s the Stevie situation (our top scorer!), I could go on…very poor decisions! Kenny was given half the time and he won us the cup!!

  5. My indictment of Rodgers is a bit different. For all the promising players he had to work with this past year, I’ve seen little to no improvement, other than Skrtel and Henderson. Coutinho, Sterling, Can, Lallana, Moreno, Lovren, Ibe….there’s a lot of young talent with none making significant progress. Sterling’s season was an abject disappointment.

    What young players will want to transfer this summer to stagnate? By comparison, Klopp is a brilliant developer of young talent.

    The Stoke effort was the final indication from the players that Rodgers should go. What more obvious thing could they do, other than hire a zeppelin to fly a banner over Anfield?


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