The Merseyside rivalry has struggled to flourish this season, considering the weakness of Everton and the improvement of Liverpool. The two clubs have yet to really lock horns as Everton fans focus all their aggression towards their own team and management, rather than their much-decorated neighbours. Everton’s failings have been well-documented throughout this season and the club is heading into the summer transfer window with more unknowns than guarantees about their future.
Roberto Martinez’s position is coming increasingly under question. Everton fans are listing their dream alternatives to Martinez, the bookies are taking big bets on who might replace him and the Spaniard is facing wave after wave of questions about his future.
But in all of this one intriguing question pokes its head above the parapet: Could Brendan Rodgers be Everton’s answer?
Rodgers, in many ways, is of a similar profile to Martinez. The ex-Liverpool boss prides himself on playing football in an aesthetically pleasing manner, has experienced managing in lower divisions and made his leap into the public eye with a successful period as the boss of Swansea. Martinez and Rodgers both suffer from an inability to build a solid defence, mind. The greatest criticism of the Spanish manager has been the leaking of goals at an alarming rate and, and when Rodgers nearly won the title with Liverpool that was arguably his greatest downfall, too. There is a shared naivety between the two managers and, in a way, this is what makes them such a romantic prospect for directors. There is no ‘win at all costs’ mentality from either of them, it seems.
It is unlikely that Toffees from the terraces or the board room would even look twice at a supposedly failed ex-Liverpool boss. That is tantamount to accepting that you are a smaller club, that you cannot attract bigger names and that you must feed off the flops from your local rivals. However, a manager of a slightly higher profile, and with a reputation of managing bigger names, might be exactly what Everton need right now. The defence is unlikely to replicate an Italian side from the 1990s, but it might be a case of as good as you can get at the moment for Everton fans.
Brendan Rodgers is, fundamentally, a very good manager. The trouble with a potential appointment at any club is that he has so many key flaws. Everton, if they are going to replace Martinez, will surely be looking for someone who can tighten up the defence so that they take full advantage of all the attacking talent at their disposal. Rodgers clearly isn’t the right man for Everton at the moment for that very reason. The ex-Reading boss would, if anything, exasperate the defensive rotting that is currently taking place at Goodison.
In short, Rodgers cannot save Everton. Rodgers’ appointment would not do anything to quash the current fan restlessness and the tactical shortcomings of Martinez are unlikely to be fixed. The naivety of the two managers makes their teams so exciting; they don’t ever resort to holding for a lead. The advantage Rodgers has over Martinez is that he could at least arrive with the previous record of managing inhumanely-sized egos.
‘Mr Character’ would not resurrect Everton in 2016/17. His irresponsibility with transfer revenue and failure to value the need to just win the game on occasion make him only a slight improvement on Martinez. However, everyone is demanding change around Everton, and a change – if he wasn’t a former Red – could be enough. Perhaps give someone else final say on transfers and insist a defensive coach is there to reign Rodgers’ reckless intentions in and there could be some logic there.