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Rodgers Can’t Produce Another Sideways Step
Footytubeblog (Blog) 4 years ago
Brendan Rodgers is a manager who bestows the tactical philosophy of the modern-day breed but the straight-talking attitude that’s straight out of the old-school. The Ulsterman doesn’t seem keen on pedalling Liverpool supporters anything verging on the idealistic. It’s optimism for the future but a very abrupt sense of realism for the present.

Indeed, during the initial days after his appointment by the Fenway Sports Group earlier this summer, the usual spiel of optimism that is generally expected when a club ushers in a new manager, was laced with a very honest feeling of reality.

You’d be hard pushed to expect the ex-Swansea man to say anything else when asked the almost novel question about whether the clubs domination of the 70’s and 80’s could be repeated. But even though it felt as if he was pointing out the obvious, it still felt like something of a stinging observation, anyway.
“The challenge is immense,” he said, back in July.

“The club and where it was at over the years – will any club ever do that again? That’s a big question. But I certainly think with a club of our status and value to the football world that we can go again. It’s going to take time. And whether it will be in my time, I’m not so sure.”

An honest and sensible evaluation of proceedings, one would have thought. But it was in his next passage in which events were put into context. There is seemingly a reason why his earlier passage felt a little bit on the sore side.
“We want to be up there challenging for Champions League places, but I’m not going to commit to any stupid statements now. It’s about the real world. The club finished sixth, seventh and eighth over the last three seasons. Someone asked me the other day if we thought we could win the league … you know what I mean?”

Using the rogue example of a fan that Rodgers used as some form of barometer for the red half of Merseyside’s expectations is verging on the ridiculous. But it’s not wholly absurd. Sometimes, it takes seeing a figurehead to utter a passage in person or for a quote to be scribed out in crystal clear for some to accept it. Liverpool are currently galaxies away from even uttering the phrase title talk.

Those clamouring for an instant remedy for renewed league success need to be under no illusions of quite how hard the task is that lies ahead for both Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers.

But although dampening the expectations of the naïve few are one thing, you can’t rain down on the parade of a majority. Rodgers was correct in remaining ambiguous for the season’s expectations – the task ahead is massive and there is no point making promises he cannot keep. But every manager must have a goal and an aim of which his performance and progress can be measured against. For some, determining quite where that is is no easy task.

The print-media were very quick to twist Rodgers’ words. The Independent were happy to run with the headline ‘Liverpool prepare for four years in wilderness.’ His exact quote was that he intended to be competing for the Champions League within the next ‘three to four years.’ But even then, that seems like an awfully long time. In football terms, most managers are in and out of a job in that time. Marking that out as a buffering period, certainly allows Rodgers a hell of a lot of slack.

For some, a crack at the top four remained very optimistic indeed, but it wasn’t within the boundaries of delusion at the start of the term. Although despite the league campaign being very much in its infancy, that already feels like it is going to have to wait till next season. Ushering in a new system, new players and a whole new philosophy of playing was hard enough as it is, without the problems inflicted by questionable management at board level – the failure of the club to sign another striker leaves it only a Luis Suarez-sized injury away from quite the dilemma indeed.

Yet although Rodgers may not be at blame for that issue in particular, it remains to be seen how much of a shield it can be used to deflect critique off his own teams’ performances, should things remain quite so tepid up at Anfield. The season is his develop and as already noted, a top-four finish isn’t going to be the yardstick upon which supporters will measure his progress. But that’s what he’s going to have to show. The team must show improvement from last season’s eighth placed finish.

Rodgers has already voiced suggested that the possible distraction of the Europa League will be avoided by focusing all efforts on the league campaign. Success in the League Cup brought joy to Anfield and respite for Kenny Dalglish, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the appetite of the football club collectively. All the eggs are going to and will have to be, put into basket of the Premier League this season. There are no distractions for Liverpool this season and although he might not need it yet, it is one less excuse for Rodgers to use.

It might represent a very cynical way of looking at it, but the point remains, progress in the league has to be made this season. Because another sideways step puts the club one more season behind those in front of them. They can’t afford to keep regressing anymore, both on and off the pitch.

A timescale of three to four seasons to get competing for the riches of Champions League football again doesn’t seem that outlandish. But football is a cruel game with an awfully short memory and even shorter level of patience. If Rodgers is going to get the sort of slack he both craves and needs, then he is going to have to show something in exchange for it.

Written By Sam Antrobus

This blog does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of footytube or its partners.
BeefCurtains (Limerick) 4 years ago
"If Rodgers is going to get the sort of slack he both craves and needs"

He's not getting any slack. He's has approx six weeks to completely change this trend otherwise he's out.
YoloToure (Liverpool) 4 years ago
How can you say things like that when you've clearly just made it up
Cloudst (Footytube Mod) 4 years ago
I think Rodgers will right the ship, he's got the right mind set but the finishing is letting liverpool down when it comes down to it. Hopefully all goes well
Dinglehater2 (West Bromwich Albion) 4 years ago
Rodgers is a top class manager. One of the positives Liverpool fans can take out is how he has managed to brand his style of play onto the youngsters. Their Europa league game and the Capital one clash against West Brom shows that. The youngsters are quite eager and more enthusiastic as compared to the seniors. The senior players have always played in a different manner and to introduce his system will take time. I'm certain it will happen. Rodgers is slowly building a future at Liverpool and in a couple of years no doubt Liverpool with up there once more where they rightfully belong
Havehart (Chelsea) 4 years ago
Rodgers has a plan, but more often than not, it's the success of his players that will let him continue executing that plan. They aren't finishing, they aren't winning the important results and mid-table just isn't good enough for Liverpool's sponsors, fans and bosses. This is the Premier League and without results Rodgers won't be allowed the chance to do anything significant
Wesaboogie (Liverpool) 4 years ago
The problem I have with Rodgers is that perhaps he might be to stubborn tactically on occasion. An example of this is their intent to keep on taking short goal kicks and distributing short from the back. While perhaps their transfer philosophy has also prevented them from tasting more success this season.

Why they did not play Sahin in a deeper role and let gerrard support suarez more I do not know.... What a waste of a quality player
YoloToure (Liverpool) 4 years ago
In the beginning of the season he had some longer interviews where he explained his philosophy and he on multiple occassions mentioned how the benefit of playing tight passing game is that when they start pressuring high you can then adjust your tactics and start to play it long. They do do it sometimes but maybe not often enough.

I still think he's looking for the correct type of players to be able to do it with. That's why we are currently linked (maybe not anymore though) with Forren, a defender with a great repuation for being able to pass/carry the ball out of his end. I don't think Carra or Coates are good for that, and Skrtel's not exceptional. Only Agger.

Give the man time damnit!

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