Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers deserves at the very least until the end of the season to get the Reds moving in the right direction, if not far longer.
“You are not as bad as they say you are, and you are not as good as they say you are.” The media’s treatment of Rodgers shows this.
Last season he was ‘managerial perfection,’ this term his ‘time is up.’ But this is a damaging and unhelpful narrative. Rodgers has not become a bad manager overnight, with many circumstances related to results no wholly his fault.
Liverpool have had a difficult season, and many have unfairly hung Rodgers on his own success from last year, which inevitably raised expectations. This is harsh considering Rodgers has lost Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, the striking duo around whom he built last season’s excellent campaign.
Rodgers found a system that perfectly accommodated his attacking talent and realistic Liverpool fans understood that, this season, coming close to maintaining that form would be hugely difficult.
Any manager in the world would be unable to prevent his team suffering after losing two top players like Suarez and Sturridge, Rodgers cannot be blamed for that. Tactically the Northern Irishman does face questions, also concerning transfer spending when using the funds from the sale of Suarez to Barcelona.
However, his signings are improving with games and time as they adjust to English football – someone one must remember it often takes players an entire season to do that due to its frenetic pace.
Paul Scholes and Gary Neville have both recently said that during the first few months of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra’s Manchester United careers they appeared unsuitable for the English game. They didn’t turn out too badly though, did they?
Liverpool’s summer signings certainly appear far more promising than those Spurs made in their spending of the Gareth Bale money that is often compared to the Reds. Liverpool have inevitably taken a step backwards, but they still appear a stronger side than two years ago, particularly as their summer signings are consistently improving.
Full-back Alberto Moreno has had a promisingly started, Adam Lallana has obvious talent and age on his side whilst Lazar Markovic has recently begun to show his attacking capabilities. This was evident from his winning goal and excellent performance against Sunderland two weeks ago.
Mario Balotelli was a risk, as Rodgers himself has acknowledged, but an understandable gamble given his talent. If they can get Daniel Sturridge back regularly fit and sign another top striker then Liverpool can compete for the title once again.
The margins at the top are tiny, and Liverpool are not as far away as many would have you think. They would also need to address the goalkeeper situation, while Steven Gerrard will be a huge loss, but signing James Milner on a free from Manchester City would be a brilliant bargain and could go a long way towards addressing this.
Let us not forget that this season Rodgers still has a reasonable chance of leading them to a Champions League finish, which would be excellent considering all the extenuating circumstances he has faced. His summer signings are largely improving as the season continues, and with a proficient striker in January they have every chance of securing Champions league football again.
If this is not reason enough to persist with Rodgers, just look at how highly he is rated by others managers such as Jose Mourinho, and his proven pedigree.
Rodgers was successful in taking Swansea into the Premier League and keeping them up comfortably with an impressive 12th placed finished – 40% of promoted sides automatically return to the Championship.
Though previous manager Roberto Martinez had already instilled the system, philosophy of football and many of the personnel Rodgers used, the Championship is one of the toughest League’s to gain promotion from. This feat, combined with surviving with so much room to spare the following season, should not be understated.
In this era of managerial sackings with ridiculous frequently, Liverpool should not allow such impatience to infiltrate their thinking.
Rodgers has more than earned time to see his project at the Reds through – seeking his sacking is only a reflection of a lack of understanding regarding what he has hard to work with.