When Liverpool were thumped 6-1 at the Britannia in Steven Gerrard’s last ever Liverpool game, we all knew that something needed to change at the famous club. The game at Stoke followed a fairly embarrassing loss to Crystal Palace, as the Reds slipped from Champions League hopefuls to sixth and a second spot in the Europa League; and after the embarrassment of the Stoke result, there were plenty of people calling for Brendan Rodgers to tender his resignation.
This he did not do, but the Liverpool boss was nevertheless summoned to an end-of-season review in America with the chairman and owner of the club, with the meeting taking place this week.
I must admit that I thought there was a decent chance of Rodgers losing his job following this meeting. You see, in case I haven’t made it clear enough yet, I still think the jury on the man is very much out. Yes, he got Swansea promoted, but does this really qualify him for one of the biggest jobs in English football?
There will be those that point towards last season, when Liverpool very nearly clinched the title for the first time in about 20 years. But for anyone pointing in that direction, I must also point out that with Luis Suarez gone, the Reds look a pale imitation of the side that pushed Chelsea and Manchester City all the way in 2014. In short, and in my opinion, Rodgers’ inflated reputation has come about as a direct result of an annus mirabilis from a bite-happy Uruguayan.
Anyway, let’s not get sidetracked; back to the meeting. In my view, the logical conclusion of the review should have been something along the lines of, “Brendan, you haven’t delivered, and you’ve failed, you’re fired”. What has actually happened is something quite different. Rather than Rodgers receiving the blame, it appears that the responsibility has been foisted onto two of Rodgers’ backroom staff, Colin Pascoe and Mike Marsh, with both men receiving their P45s this week.
To me, this decision is entirely illogical. These were two coaches who have been there throughout Rodgers’ Liverpool regime and have been key lieutenants during the highs as well as the lows. For them to lose their jobs and Rodgers to retain his smacks of real inconsistency.
We can only speculate as to the reason why Rodgers has kept his job and they have lost theirs, but it appears as if they are the ‘fall guys’; the men that the manager and the board have identified as at fault as Liverpool dropped five places in the League.
My opinion is simple: Rodgers is in charge. He has been the one to spend millions on overrated players. He has been the one to play players out of position. He is the one responsible for results. No amount of backroom shuffling will make up for a manager who is quite clearly out of his depth, and to me, Liverpool’s latest decision smacks of papering over the cracks. Whether I’m right or wrong, all will be revealed next season.