It’s tempting to start a post like this with, “Where has it all gone wrong?”
But it’s been 3 years of ups and downs, and there’s a pattern emerging. Rodgers…doesn’t appear to be a very good manager.
I know, he turned Suarez into a superstar. He nurtured Sterling and Sturridge, made Henderson a decent player, and so on. That’s good, maybe even great coaching.
But he can’t manage a big game for his life. Flubbed our lines in the Champions League. Messed up against Palace last season, against all the big teams this season. Kept playing Gerrard deep in midfield when it was abundantly clear he was there on sentimentality rather than ability. Bombed out good players like Sakho and Lucas, and turning to them only when injuries forced his hand. See-saw treatment of Balotelli, and rumours of his freezing out of transfer committee buys and relying on his own mediocre targets.
Last season is beginning to look more and more like a fluke. We rode a brilliant attacking wave that masked the deficiencies of a non-existent midfield and a leaky defence.
We lost to Aston Villa.
In a cup semi-final. At Wembley. With the so-called experienced head of Gerrard leading the lacklustre team, and completely stinking out the place.
3 formation changes, 2 within the first half that I watched. Nothing worked, and this against a Sherwood-led Villa with an injury crisis.
Gerrard shouldn’t even have played, and he should have been the one hooked for Balotelli instead of Markovic. And at the end of the match, he was praised by Rodgers despite contrary reports from fans that he sucked. I thought the Gerrard situation had been settled already, even if it was far too late into the season for my liking. Apparently not.
Last season, he somehow brought out the best in Suarez and Sturridge. I won’t deny that it was a great achievement to finish 2nd. But this season, he’s made so many baffling decisions in team selection, in substitutions, in formations, and game management, that it boggles my mind. Where had the Rodgers of last season gone? Was he just a mirage?
Of course, not everything is down to him. The players were terrible. The transfer committee has been a flawed experiment thus far. But we shouldn’t be dominated by Villa, and Rodgers shouldn’t be out-thought by Tim Sherwood.
I think patience is often not awarded to managers, but if we want to progress, if we want to punch above our weight consistently, then something must be done. Either Rodgers has to demonstrate improvement, or he has to go.
Rodgers hasn’t implemented any vision, or showed he has a concrete plan within that 180-page dossier. Every success seems to come on the back of an inspired change, and then it collapses when someone works it out. We’re building to nowhere. There’s no direction, and how can we manage to recruit players suitable without it? How do we work out how to play without it?
Jurgen Klopp is available. It’s mightily tempting to scream for Klopp. Will he want to come though, to a club much like Dortmund, with the same financial restrictions, and the same issue of other teams cherry-picking our best players?
If he does though, I can imagine him turning us around. Don’t tempt me any more, Rodgers. Get your shit sorted out.