Anfield can be a terrible place for those unfortunates who the Liverpool faithful do not deem worthy of serving their great old club.
Roy Hodgson fell into that category during the six months of his tortuous reign there, Gerard Houllier came dangerously close at times during his six years at the club, and now a small minority of the fans would appear to be losing their patience slowly but surely with Brendan Rodgers. They’ve seen the team fail to break into the top four and Champions League qualification, they’ve seen a high proportion of his signings struggle to adapt to the pressure of playing for Liverpool, and they’ve seen abject performances in defeats to their biggest rival, Manchester United. Their frustration is understandable.
However, I personally don’t think getting rid of the thoughtful Northern Irishman at this stage would help them in the slightest.
My first point is this – Liverpool simply do not have the players to win the title. They arguably do not have the power to keep or attract them when they do come along either, but that is another issue. The strongest teams in the country and in Europe always have a spine of power and imposing presence; now that Gerrard, Reina and Suarez have left, Liverpool do not have that any more.
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Looking at it from this perspective, Rodgers has to work with the tools he has been given. He does not blame them as that would be an extremely naive move, but he must surely know that his squad is only the 5th/6th best in the country, no more or less than that.
Just because Liverpool strengthened over the summer does not mean they are now better than any of the teams who made up last years top four.
Arsenal added a world class keeper to a squad that was already impressive, Chelsea have an abundance of game-changing players already, Manchester City look the strongest team in the country, and Manchester United could go out and buy a world cup winning German legend. It is hard for Rodgers to compete with that given the resources at his disposal.
Of course it could be suggested that some of the new signings that he has brought to the club in recent windows have not exactly set the Premier League alight, and I might be tempted to agree with that statement. However, how well do you think those signings will perform if the manager who showed faith in them by signing them is sacked, and replaced by a man who wants to bring in his own players, own philosophies and own staff?
Players find it easiest to perform under the right amount of pressure; they will know they have let down the man who bought them and will be working hard to rectify it, whereas sacking Rodgers would merely send them the message it’s their turn next. Christian Benteke, Dejan Lovren, James Milner and Roberto Firmino need time and faith, just like the man who bought them.
Another pragmatic point I would make to those who advocate pushing Rodgers out of the door is to ask who they think would be happy to come in and do a better job? The last time they sacked a manager halfway through a season Kenny Dalglish came in; the lesson here is not to get rid of a manager unless you have a replacement of serious quality with recent experience at the highest level already lined up. Please let me know if I am incorrect here, but in my opinion there is no one who fills all those categories ready and willing at a moments notice to step into the hotseat.
To clarify; I’m not suggesting giving Rodgers until the end of the season at whatever cost. My point is that sometimes it really is best to show a little patience, especially with a man who less than two years ago almost masterminded one of the most dramatic title wins in Premiership history.
Liverpool could get rid of him, yes – but on their head be it if things don’t improve.