Defending Brendan Rodgers

I’ve grown sick of the criticism Rodgers has been receiving at the minute. From watching the United game today I thought that Liverpool were the better team, with more shots on target and were up against De Gea who was incredible. There were so many opportunities that Liverpool had to score, however the match ended 3-0 to the home team and those who didn’t follow the game will look at that scoreline and draw conclusions that I feel are unfair.

There are a huge number of factors that can be blamed for Liverpool’s poor start to the season. The biggest in my opinion are the lack of impact from the new signings, and the absence of a goal threat. How much of this can be blamed on Rodgers? He selects the team each week, has an influence over who arrives and leaves the club, and is tasked with motivating and preparing the players for each match, but can he be really be blamed for a lack of goals?

In the game today if De Gea wasn’t so world-class it could easily have been a Liverpool victory. He changed the team around once again, notably benching Mignolet for his poor form, yet I can’t fault his tactics throughout the match. The scoreline hugely flattered United but it appears to have not stopped the media or the fans from trying their hardest to force Rodgers out.

Liverpool are out of the Champions League, look out of the title race already, and seem unlikely to turn it around at the moment. Yet the season is not yet finished. There is still a huge opportunity of achieving a Champions League spot through the Europa League, there are still the FA Cup and League Cup to compete in, and it only takes a few wins, as shown by Newcastle and United, to quickly rise up the table.

There have been numerous people calling for Rodgers to go. What would that achieve? Okay he’s gone, who else is out there that would come to Liverpool and be better? Please give me the name of this saviour.

What has also gotten on my nerves is the recent praise towards van Gaal, with a post I just read calling him ‘underrated’. He’s got a fantastic record and appears to be a much better fit than David Moyes. However while this is all well and good, people seem to be forgetting the expectations and ambitions of Manchester United.

They are currently on a six match winning run, with wins against Palace, Arsenal, Hull, Stoke, Southampton and now Liverpool. Is that really so impressive?

Arsenal had a huge amount of injuries, Southampton’s fine run was always going to reach an end, and Liverpool are on a huge low at the minute. Underrated? Really? United were the biggest spenders by some margin this summer.

Was it a surprise United beat Liverpool today? No. Should the result be made so significant for van Gaal and Rodgers? Absolutely not.

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2 thoughts on “Defending Brendan Rodgers

  1. I certainly don’t think Brendan Rodgers is without fault, but I think a lot of the criticisms he gets are wrong-headed.

    I don’t think many managers could recover overnight from their best player leaving, let alone their next best goalscorer suffering a long-term injury.

    I think there is also a misconception that with a £100M budget you can just go out and buy a replacement striker. Other clubs don’t just sell their best strikers, and when they know a buying club has money they will invariably stick a daft price tag on a player. It is an impossible situation as you can’t get the right player at the right price.

    Plus, there was no option to bring in cover for Sturridge as the transfer window had closed.

    And in terms of who was brought in…I’m much happier with him bringing in several players with potential and longevity than blowing the budget on one big player who might flop, or get injured.

    Can and Markovic are stars of the future. It wasn’t that long ago that people were criticising the purchase of Henderson, and that has worked out pretty well. Lallana has played well, Lambert has done a job (and didn’t cost much anyway) and Lovren has probably been dragged down by the poor personnel around him. As for Balotelli, he was a gamble, but at the prices he was worth a shot and could still improve.

    Ultimately, Liverpool have been creating chances and I think sooner rather than later they will start converting them. I think the issues are more around coaching – the defence needs to be better organised and better marshalled. The rest of the team need to be clear about their roles so there is a greater clarity around the team’s approach – are they out to score goals like last year, or are they now set up to play a tighter game and grind out results.

    Finally, does Rodgers leaving fix anything? There have been plenty of studies that show switching managers makes no difference in the long-term to a team’s prospects. He hasn’t suddenly become a bad manager. I think he is building a squad for the next five to ten years, not trying to shortcut his way to another bid for the title. Sure, it has been a frustrating season, but a managerial change now would lead to even more frustration and disappointment right now.

    • Great comment! I agree with all of what you’ve said. I made the same point on an earlier post about how star players like Suarez in this case are just impossible to replace despite the millions often received for them. I hadn’t considered the long-term vision, I really do hope Can and Markovic do become key players in the future, I think Can has been unfortunate actually to have not featured more already. I too hope we stick with him 🙂

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