Football: Liverpool sack manager Brendan Rodgers after poor start

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers looks dejected after 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday at  Merseyside.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers looks dejected after 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday at Merseyside.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Liverpool sacked manager Brendan Rodgers on Sunday following a year of disappointing results that culminated in a poor start to the current season.

The announcement came just hours after the five-time European champions had held Everton to a 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park with another unconvincing performance.

Rodgers, 42, took Liverpool to the brink of the Premier League title in 2014, but they finished sixth last season and are currently 10th in the table with 12 points from eight games.

"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Brendan Rodgers for the significant contribution he has made to the club and express our gratitude for his hard work and commitment," Liverpool's American owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) said in a statement.

"All of us have experienced some wonderful moments with Brendan as manager and we are confident he will enjoy a long career in the game.

"Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe it provides us with the best opportunity for success on the pitch."

Rodgers arrived from Swansea City in 2012 with a reputation for expansive football and built a team around Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and captain Steven Gerrard that captivated neutrals by making a thrilling tilt at the league title in 2014.

But after a costly slip by Gerrard in a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea, Liverpool lost out to Manchester City and Rodgers's subsequent attempts to re-shape his squad proved unsuccessful.

He spent around £194 million (S$311.49 million) on new players over the last 16 months, but high-profile signings such as Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli failed to pay off, while Suarez and Gerrard have both left, along with Raheem Sterling.

"Ambition and winning are at the heart of what we want to bring to Liverpool and we believe this change gives us the best opportunity to deliver it," Liverpool's management added."The search for a new manager is under way and we hope to make an appointment in a decisive and timely manner."

Former Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and former Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, both currently out of work, have been linked with the Liverpool job in recent weeks.

Speaking before news of his dismissal had broken, Rodgers said: "I don't feel any pressure. I can honestly say that.

"People will want to put pressure on for different reasons. I don't feel it, I don't want it, but anything externally, there is no drama."

Rodgers's position came under scrutiny at the end of last season, after Liverpool were humiliated 6-1 at Stoke City on the final day in Gerrard's last game before joining the Los Angeles Galaxy.

FSG came out in support of the Northern Irishman, who formerly worked alongside Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, but obliged him to make changes to his back-room staff.

Assistant manager Colin Pascoe and first-team coach Mike Marsh both left the club, with Sean O'Driscoll and former Liverpool midfielder Gary McAllister joining the back-room staff.

Rodgers spent around £80 million during the close season, much of it recouped from the sale of Sterling to City for £49 million, but Liverpool have struggled.

They have won only one of their last nine games inside 90 minutes and needed penalties to beat fourth-tier Carlisle United in the League Cup.

"He was maybe fortunate to stay on at the end of last season," said former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who played under Rodgers. "He'll have known himself that he had to make a good start and he hasn't."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger backed Rodgers to bounce back from the setback.

"I am always sad when that happens because I think he is a quality manager," said the Frenchman after his side's 3-0 defeat of Manchester United. "But that's the way it goes now and I wish him good luck. I am sure he will find a job again."

Rodgers is the second Premier League manager to part company with a club this season after Dick Advocaat, who stood down at Sunderland earlier on Sunday.