Monday, October 5, 2015

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From Kop To Crap

The weekend Rodgers relegation to joblessness was inevitable. A Sunday sacking might be a rare enough event in the world of work and given that Liverpool did not lose yesterday’s Merseyside derby, it seemed that Brendan Rodgers might survive a while longer to stumble along at least until another embarrassing result came in similar to the Stoke thrashing at the end of last season or the humiliating display against West Ham United a few weeks back.

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?

4 comments :

DaithiD said...

Its almost as if he never heard of David Brent, these are some of his quotes from a mail article today, unintentionally hillarious:

1 - 'I always say a squad is like a good meal. I'm not a great cook, but a good meal takes a wee bit of time. But also, to offer a good meal, you need good ingredients.' ~ 2012/13 season at Liverpool

2 - 'I've always worked along with the statistic that if you can dominate the game with the ball you have a 79 per cent chance of winning the game.' ~ September 2012 when he sat down for an interview with Liverpool fan sites at Melwood

3 - 'The last 18 months we have been on a magic carpet ride of development but we still have a lot of growth to make.' ~ October 2014 in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS

4 - 'I use a quote with the players, "Per aspera ad astra", which is Latin for "through adversity to the stars".' ~ Rodgers in Being:Liverpool, 2012

5 - 'I think there's three players who will let us down this year — the cause, the fight, everything – and I have written them down already in these three envelopes. Make sure you are not in one of the envelopes.' ~ Being:Liverpool, 2012

6 - 'Every player I see as my own son' ~ Being:Liverpool, 2012

7 - 'I've always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can't live for a second without hope.' ~ At Liverpool in 2013

8 - 'It was a perfect away performance, apart from the first 10 minutes.' ~ After a 2-0 defeat by Zenit St Petersburg, in which both goals came in the second half
9 - 'When we have the football everybody’s a player. The difference with us is that when we have the ball we play with 11 men, other teams play with 10 and a goalkeeper.' ~ During an interview as Swansea boss in January 2012

10 - 'What I say to the players is this: "The crown is on your head, my friend. You are the king of your destiny".' ~ In Michael Calvin's 'Living on the Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager'

11 - 'I love to run on the streets around here. I love seeing the people going about their business. These are our people. I love running late in the afternoon, when the doors are open and the dinners are on, and you can smell the mince cooking…' ~ Another quote from the chapter dedicated to Rodgers in Michael Calvin's book

12 - 'I will leave no stone unturned in my quest – and that quest will be relentless – to try and get Liverpool back on the map again as a successful football club.' ~ At Liverpool in 2012

13 - 'My biggest mentor is myself because I've had to study, so that's been my biggest influence.' ~ Rodgers, while Swansea City manager in 2011

14 - 'The problem with being a manager is it's like trying to build an aircraft while it is flying.' ~ While at Swansea in 2012

15 - 'If you give a bad player time, he can play. If you give a good player time, he can kill you.' ~ In an interview with the Guardian while at Swansea in 2012

16 - 'I believe a young man will run through a barbed-wire fence for you. An older player looks for a hole in the fence.' ~ During his time at Liverpool in 2012

17 - 'When we lost at Stoke last season I got home on Boxing Day night and family and guests were all around the house. I went straight upstairs to my room and didn't come out.' ~ While at Liverpool, on the defeat in 2012

18 - 'Look at Tottenham. If you spend more than £100 million, you expect to be challenging for the league' - April 2014, before Spurs finished sixth in the Premier League... the following summer, Liverpool spent over £100m and went on to finish sixth

19 - 'You train dogs. I like to educate players.' ~ Rodgers' first press conference as Liverpool manager

20 - 'He's the Welsh Xavi' ~ On Joe Allen as he arrived at the club, as shown in the Channel 5 documentary Being:Liverpool

Niall said...

The writing was on the wall for Liverpool many seasons ago. Luiz Suarez was highly influential in chasing the title but it wasn't for the club he was playing it was to enhance his own re-sale value. That was so obvious.
Rodgers thought that he could do this and do that with average or below average players with a few exceptions and hopefully succeed....what a silly notion that is.
Football is a business and like most businesses, I can't think of one that isn't, they are all morally and ethically corrupt to certain degrees. That is how they succeed in terms of capital. To suggest that the players give up some of their wages for this or that reason is ridiculous within a business environment - would I give up some of my wages because my CEO bribed a public official to win a contract or committed fraud to keep the company afloat?!?!?!?!?
What we can say about Rodgers is that he was very successful at Southampton!!!!!

Peter said...

You're right, Rodgers had to go unfortunately. You are also right to point out that his defensive frailties were the principal reason too. Even though I am a Man City fan I almost would have prefered Liverpool to win that league, 2 seasons ago, just to shake up the EPL a bit and get the greatness back to a club I respect a lot. But there is a saying in Spain that strikers win games but defenders win titles, and when it came to squeaky bum time Liverpool conceded against Chelsea at home and Crystal Palace away when 2 clean sheets would've won them a first title in the EPL era. But did Rodgers learn? Did he fuck, Skyrtl, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Johnson, Mignole etc are not top level defenders. I hope they get Klopp in and he sorts that defence out. CTID

DaithiD said...

People think of Liverpools trophy potential as a catapillar that exists, but its butterfly thats flown away