EYE ON EPL

Reds needed a big name and Rodgers was the wrong man

Brendan Rodgers when he was manager of Liverpool till his sacking on Sunday (Oct 4 2015).
Brendan Rodgers when he was manager of Liverpool till his sacking on Sunday (Oct 4 2015).PHOTO: REUTERS

The only surprise about Liverpool's sacking of Brendan Rodgers is that owner Fenway Sports Group (FSG) took this long to acknowledge that the Northern Irishman was the wrong man for the job.

Notwithstanding the 2013-14 season, when they came within a slip of winning the English Premier League title, there has been little to shout about during Rodgers' 40-month tenure on Merseyside.

At a club as big as the Reds, trophies are a must. He failed to deliver any, joining Roy Hodgson as the only other manager since Bill Shankly's arrival in 1959 who left with no silverware.

Liverpool did not even make a Cup final in the past three seasons and Rodgers was incapable of rousing his sleepwalking team since March.

Despite his presentation as a footballing revolutionary and idealogue, Rodgers never really lived up to his creation of himself. He changed formations at whim, deployed players out of position and threw tiki-taka out the window when he bought Christian Benteke.

They ended the last campaign with three wins from 11 games in all competitions, and started this term with an identical record, with the players being booed off the pitch in three of their past four home matches.

This was all of Rodgers' own making. He never should have let Steven Gerrard leave. The former skipper's powers may have been diminishing but his influence behind the scenes was still formidable and Rodgers failed to recognise this.

He fell out with a club legend and unnecessarily created a disjointed dressing room.

Look at the effort - or lack thereof - from the players in the games this season. These were unhappy footballers waiting for the axe to fall on their coach.

While it's undeniable that Rodgers has had to deal with losing key players (Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling) in successive seasons, he has failed to use the £125 million (S$269 million) generated from these sales wisely.

In fact, his investment of almost £300 million and 31 players since taking charge in 2012 has been disastrous. Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge are the exceptions to a long list of poor signings that include Fabio Borini (£10 million), Mario Balotelli (£16 million), Dejan Lovren and Lazar Markovic (each £20 million).

Despite his presentation as a footballing revolutionary and idealogue, Rodgers never really lived up to his creation of himself. He changed formations at whim, deployed players out of position and threw tiki-taka out the window when he bought Christian Benteke.

Here was clearly a man in a state of panic, grasping hopelessly for a solution in the dark.

Rodgers is by no means a bad manager. He was a success at Watford and Swansea, but Liverpool have proved far too big a club for someone who was only 39 when he succeeded Kenny Dalglish in May 2012.

What Liverpool need is a big name manager and both Juergen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti fit the bill. They have won league titles and will bring with them a winning mentality.

Ancelotti is the more experienced and has won the EPL with Chelsea so he knows exactly what it takes.

 

Klopp would be an interesting choice. He's been successful in Germany but can he replicate that in another country? He is charismatic and connects with the fans, something that Rodgers failed to do, and optimism is in short supply among Reds supporters.

It is telling that FSG has chosen the international break to remove Rodgers. It gives them some leeway to act and, for the new man, some breathing space to work with before the next round of fixtures in a fortnight.

Time may have run out for Rodgers but the clock has only begun for his replacement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Reds needed a big name and Rodgers was the wrong man'. Print Edition | Subscribe