It’s Time To Part Ways With Brendan Rodgers
By Dave Turner (@DTurnerSports)
Time and time again, I’ve defended coaches, whether it’s football, hockey, or any other sport that I’ve covered, the mantra of “it must be the manager” is far too often used by fans and the media alike.
Fans have attachments to players and we tend to believe in the men that line up for our side, sometimes giving them too much credit. The idea of “it can’t possibly be the great players we have, so let’s fire the coach” is many times just an excuse for a poor performing team without real talent. That and a coach is normally an expendable asset, whereas players can be fired en-mass and replaced without a major upheaval.
I hate having to conjure up such an argument, but at this juncture, it’s apparent what needs to be done.
I’ve tried to defend Brendan, even giving him kudos for the defensive performances of the first three matches, but after the completely disorganized and heartless effort against Manchester United on Saturday, it’s clear. Brendan Rodgers is not the man to lead the Reds forward through the rest of this season.
After spending so much money in the offseason bringing in quality players, Mr. Rodgers was still on the hot seat. After three somewhat strong performances to start the season, it seemed like perhaps he had righted the ship at Anfield.
Fast-forward two matches and an inexcusable blowout loss at home to West Ham and a completely uninspiring loss in a rivalry match at Old Trafford show that not much has changed from last season.
Losses happen, I get that. Man U are a quality side, but the way the team entered the match against United was completely dumfounding. After coming off of such a putrid loss against West Ham, with a chance to impress against a rival in one of the biggest annual matches in worldwide club football, Liverpool was outclassed and outcoached.
The first half of the match saw the Reds unable to find any sort of cohesiveness and the passing and even defensive
Sure, it’s a tough task to get a result at Old Trafford and some blame certainly goes to the players for their putrid performance. Playing without their captain in Jordan Henderson, who certainly hasn’t proven in any facet that he can hold the torch following the departure of Steven Gerrard, the team needs the manager to lead the way sometimes. If Rodgers was the one trying to get the players in the right mindset to play well against United, he failed miserably.
Some who still support Rodgers will point out that the loss of Phil Coutinho was a big one for Liverpool. Yes, the loss of a dynamic player like Coutinho does hurt, but if the team is unable to function without one player, then clearly there’s not enough being done to make up for that.
It’s not like Coutinho’s absence was a surprise, late injury scratch. The team knew from the minute he was sent off against West Ham that he’d be unavailable for the next match. So with weeks to prepare the squad, they came out looking completely lost against United from the outset.
That’s on Brendan Rodgers
It’s not easy to write a scathing indictment of a manager, because he’s certainly trying. But, in this case, his tactics and his management of this roster just don’t seem to be working.
There are quality players on this roster. We saw once again how dynamic Christian Benteke can be, yet it still feels like Liverpool haven’t found a way to really harness his potential.
Perhaps the return of Daniel Sturridge will change the formation and allow Benteke more space to operate.
We’ve also seen Benteke lack an ability to make runs and to score goals by creating his own space to receive the ball. That’s fine. The Belgian striker was mostly used as an aerial player in the past and he’ll have to continue to improve his overall game as time goes on. Does anyone have faith that Rodgers can get the best out of Benteke and raise his game another level?
It’s still early enough for Liverpool to make a change and quickly re-insert themselves into the conversation for a top-4 spot. With Chelsea, Man U and Arsenal all looking somewhat pedestrian at points so far, only Manchester City have shown themselves to be the class of the league so far.
Keeping Rodgers at the helm, with the amount of pressure that is on him and the club to perform every week will not produce the kind of expected results that are expected from this club.
A move to change the manager gives this team a chance to find itself again. Whether it’s Jurgen Klopp coming in, or someone who may not even be on the radar right now, a new manager, with new ideas on how to best use the talent on this club is the best way to move forward.
Sorry Brendan, you’ve done your best, but sometimes that isn’t quite good enough. If this season is to be salvaged, it’s with another manager leading the way.