There was a view expressed yesterday by a friend that the decision was harsh on Rodgers. It would have been harsher on the fans to have continued with him at the helm when he had produced a team that failed to produce anything other than disappointment. True, Rodgers might have carved out a little more time in which to bumble and stumble had the former manager of Borussia Dortmund, Jürgen Klopp, not been available. That was probably the only harshness inflicted on him.
Paying fans deserve their money’s worth and there is no way that the supporters of Liverpool were getting anything in terms of value for money from the sides Rodgers was fielding. That sorry lot should refund ticket buying fans from their wages or donate a significant portion from their hefty pay packets to a trust for the Hillsborough families. There are people who perform better to get their weekly dole money. Few would turn up week in week out to pay to see U2 in concert where the band sang out of tune, forgot its lines, missed beats, lacked any synchronicity and consistently underperformed. A refund would be demanded very quickly. It should be no different for the soccer millionaires who get what they certainly do not earn. The fans who protest for lower ticket fees might consider a performance related price a fair exchange. Tickets would retail at about a fiver each on current showing.
It was not all gloom under Rodgers. He came close to winning the Premier League because, with the phenomenal Luiz Suarez, he had bite up front, with the feet and not just the teeth. The side was excelling in the art of goal scoring, the forwards consistently steering the results out of the path of the tripwires the defenders had laid for them. In the end victory was denied them because the defence finally caught up, their ability and ethos perfectly crystallised in an arguably crucial game against Crystal Palace in which three goals were conceded in the last 11 minutes. A three goal lead squandered in a game where the fat lady had yet to sing. Most definitely not the stuff of serious championship contenders.
It was a structural deficiency that would haunt Rodgers once Suarez had departed and Daniel Sturridge sidelined through injury. Liverpool, unable to stop goals found it could no longer score them. With a structure so unfit for purpose there was only place for the architect to go.
The thought that he had lost his way came with the signing of Mario Balotelli. A replacement for Suaraz? Liverpool would have been better served had it brought back Ian Rush or John Toshack. The decision to offload Andy Carroll shortly after Rodgers took the reins suddenly made no sense with the arrival of the troubled and troublesome Italian. Carroll was sent packing at a time when he was beginning to hit the high note. All Balotelli could ever do was bray “why me?” in true donkey fashion. A team that had neither place nor space for Andy Carroll was hardly going to find it for Mario the maniac. The Rodgers game plan had fallen apart and from then on there was the sense that he was winging it.
There is a lot to be said about the owners here, FSG. They gave Rodgers enough money and had some sort of obligation to allow the team formation to take root and settle if even to authenticate their own seriousness about the game. In the end they seemed as clueless about systemic matters as Rodgers was about defending.
Former Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher is right. Liverpool are no longer one of the big time sides. Living on their laurels, a title now seems as far beyond them as ever. Their one chance came and went, the defence blew it.
The Liverpool malaise is not merely managerial. As David Conn suggests in The Guardian the entire ship of Liverpool FC is far from sea worthy. The problem is more virulent than poor coaching. And it takes place against a background of greater player greed and greater bureaucratic corruption as evidenced by the FIFA scandal. The culture of soccer is bad business although not necessarily bad for business.
In considering himself a replacement for Brendan Rodgers does Jürgen Klopp really want to end up as Jürgen Flop?