Last season Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was hailed by most fans as potentially being the man to bring the glory days back to Anfield. Now there are constant rumors regarding his future at the club, with whisper’s becoming ever louder in the stands from his own fans, calling for him to be sacked. Just how quickly has last years dream faded, and Rodgers achievements been laid to waste?
With Liverpool currently sitting 11th place in the league table and having crashed out of the Champions league, there is arguably a large degree of pressure on the Liverpool manager. The club has struggled to pick up a consistent string of positive results so far this campaign, with the Merseyside club only managing six victories out of the 16 games played in the league so far. Having lost more games (seven) then they have won, and currently carrying a minus three goal difference provides bleak reading for any Reds fan, but even worse when you are in the hot seat yourself. The pressure has continued to build with the failure to qualify from the group stage of the champions league, leaving many people wondering if Liverpool truly are still one of the footballing giants of the game.
Many will be quick to point to the summer sale of former talisman Luis Suarez, having been Liverpool and the league’s best player in the 2012/13 season. With one of the clubs best seasons in recent memory, most people just assumed the Uruguayan would stay and continue his phenomenal relationship with England star Daniel Sturridge. That sadly wasn’t the case, and it appears the ghost of Suarez’s legacy is haunting the side, as they have lacked majorly in the goal department. The fact that not one of Liverpool’s strikers has scored more than one league goal this season provides testament to that. Loosing Suarez undoubtedly weakened Liverpool, but in that sale that saw the club lost one of the best, most controversial footballer’s in the world, they did receive £75 million in return.
Liverpool spent £116.8 million during the summer transfer window in an attempt to replace Suarez, and continue to improve the existing squad, being the Premier league’s second biggest spenders only behind Manchester United. Naturally, when this amount of money is spent by a club, fans expect something in return. The fact that Liverpool have fallen from title challengers to fighting to stay in the top half of the table questions whether a true return for the value’s spent is being provided. In Rodgers defense, the squad itself must accept a certain degree of responsibility, with many big names seriously under performing on a regular basis.
Even captain and club legend Steven Gerrard has come under scrutiny from the Anfield faithful at times this season, and with his contract situation not being resolved there have been consistent calls to Rodgers to resolve the situation. Sadly, this far Rodgers has been unable to pen down his skipper to a new deal, bringing in the worry of whether or not he has the man management skills to keep his best players at the club.
Other factors have certainly played into Liverpool’s poor start to the season such as Sturrdige’s constant injury problems, which have seen him sidelined throughout most of the season so far, new star Mario Balotelli’s lack of impact is not aiding the clubs recovery. As well as the fact that it does take time to bed in a large group of new players, however Manchester United are proving that it can be done and having sustained more injuries than Rodgers squad.
In reality though, it is a managers job to deal with all these issues, through the good times and the bad. Last season Rodgers was certainly at the top of the mountain, but that mountain has suffered an avalanche as Liverpool have come crashing back down to earth with a bang.
It isn’t all negative though, Liverpool find them selves still in the Capital One cup, F.A. cup and the Europa league, providing Rodgers several platforms to bring in silverware this season and with over half of the league season left, there is plenty of time for the Red’s to climb into the top four.
This season has perhaps been an eye opener for Rodgers about what it really takes to manage at the very heights of the game. With the busy Christmas period in full swing, every game counts and there is no doubt that the pressure is rising on him, and the clock has potentially started to tick on his future as the Liverpool manager. But one thing is for sure, all eye’s will be on his sides Capital One cup quarter final with Bournemouth in what is surely a must win game.