With two derbies to look forward to over the last couple of days, football fans could have been forgiven for expecting a real visual treat in both. After all, the North London derby is usually a tumultuous, fascinating affair, whilst the Merseyside derby is not usually light on entertainment.
But to cut a long story short, one game delivered, and the other game did not. While Tottenham’s absorbing encounter with Arsenal well and truly lived up to its billing in the passion and drama stakes, it would be fairly difficult to describe Everton and Liverpool’s dank, lifeless and goalless draw as anything close to that.
Of course, for Everton, this was a point gained rather than two points lost. With the Toffees lying in 12th place after 24 games, a point against their city rivals was not to be sniffed at.
But for Liverpool, this was a performance that was unacceptably dull and uninspiring.
Let us not forget, this is a Liverpool team that has had millions upon millions of pounds invested in it. This is a Liverpool team that very nearly won the title last season. When one considers these facts and then analyses the Reds’performance, it is impossible not to be disappointed.
Except, of course, if you are Brendan Rodgers. You see, it doesn’t seem as if Rodgers watched the same game as the rest of us. In fact, it seems unlikely that Rodgers has experienced even the same season as us.
After his side’s latest underwhelming performance, Rodgers was quick to praise his players, saying, “It was an outstanding team effort…I can have no complaints…It was outstanding”.
The question is, does Rodgers truly think that? And if so, why is he still employed? After overseeing a vast outlay in the summer, bringing in numerous players for huge sums of money, Rodgers has led his side to a dramatic fall down the table, to the point where they are now a full four points off the top-four pace and not looking like they’ll catch up anytime soon.
Any Liverpool fans who spent their hard earned cash on a ticket to Saturday’s derby have every right to be genuinely offended by Rodgers’ latest comments.
Because if the Northern Irishman is serious–if he genuinely thinks that his side put in an outstanding performance–then there is nowhere else to go. If this was“outstanding”, then Liverpool have a very negative outlook on the goals they want to achieve; and this lack of ambition will be deeply displeasing to fans who give a large percentage of their lives watching the team they love.
Whatever Rodgers meant, this was not a sensible comment at a time when his role at the club is under stricter scrutiny than ever. He could still turn it around, but right now, it doesn’t look likely.