Football - FA Cup - Semi-Final - Aston Villa FC v Liverpool FC

FIRST, a little history lesson, writes REY MASHAYEKHI.

Yankee Stadium, October 2003. The Boston Red Sox are playing their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, in the semi-finals of the Major League Baseball playoffs. It’s game seven of a seven-game series to determine which team will advance to the World Series to play for the title — a title that the Red Sox haven’t won in 85 years.

In the eighth inning, with the Red Sox defending a 5-2 lead, Boston manager Grady Little comes out to the mound to check on his tiring ace, Pedro Martinez. One of the best pitchers of his generation, Martinez waves off the gaffer’s concerns and stays in the game. He proceeds to give up three runs; the Yankees tie the contest and go on to win it in extra innings, advancing to the World Series. Boston’s season is over.

Soon after, the Red Sox management — a group led by owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino and general manager Theo Epstein — decide not to renew Little’s contract, effectively sacking a manager who had taken them ever so close to ending their 85-year title drought. Considered a bold, potentially misguided move at the time, the Red Sox would go on to beat the Yanks in the semis the very next year — eventually winning the World Series and ending that drought at 86 years.

Fast forward to Liberty Stadium, May 2012. Liverpool Football Club are playing Swansea City in the final game of the Premier League season. Three months earlier, manager Kenny Dalglish — a colossal, totemic figure in Liverpool’s past and present — had ended the club’s six-year trophy drought by leading Liverpool to victory in the League Cup final.

But Liverpool go into the game against Swansea in eighth place in the Premier League. A crop of expensive new signings — Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson — have failed to deliver. Liverpool have looked staid and predictable all season long, having scored only 47 goals in 37 league games. Swansea defeat them 1-0 thanks to a Danny Graham goal in the 86th minute. Liverpool’s season is over; they finish four points behind Everton.

Dirk Kuyt nearing the end of his Anfield career

That summer, the Liverpool management — a group led by owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and managing director Ian Ayre — decide to relieve Dalglish of his duties, citing “disappointing” results in the league. Considered a bold, potentially heretic move at the time, the Liverpool hierarchy replace Dalglish with Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers.

Within two years they finish second in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in five years and coming three points shy of ending their 24-year title drought.

Which brings us to Wembley Stadium, April 2015. Liverpool lose to Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. We all know what the season’s consisted of so far — summer departures, autumn injuries, signings that have failed to deliver as promised and one of the worst league starts in the club’s history.

Having come so close to glory the year before, the club are now are fifth in the Premier League, seven points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Champions League qualification, while not implausible, remains unlikely. Liverpool will end the season trophyless.

This summer, as they have on numerous occasions before, the men who run Liverpool Football Club will evaluate their team’s performance. At that point, they will have a decision to make, and if the past has taught us anything as far as the way these men conduct their business, that decision will come down to two questions that they will set about answering as objectively as possible:

Did Liverpool Football Club — given the objectives set for the club at the beginning of the year and the consequent results achieved — perform to a satisfactory level in the 2014-15 season? And considering those results and their accompanying on-field displays, is Liverpool Football Club heading in the right direction under the current setup?

Football - FA Cup - Quarter-Final Replay - Blackburn Rovers FC v Liverpool FC

I’ve always considered myself a huge supporter of Brendan Rodgers. I admire his philosophy of football; the way he sets his teams up to play and the manner in which his sides generally approach games. He’s proven that he’s capable of taking Liverpool to the summit of the Premier League — coming one victory away, over the course a 38-game season, from winning the title empirically proves that. As a manager, Brendan Rodgers made me dream, and I’m not the kind of supporter — nor do I believe Liverpool to be the kind of football club — willing to toss that sort of thing away when things don’t go as planned.

But those questions. Those big, lumbering questions that will hang over this season at the end of the year; questions that won’t go away, questions that will need answering.

Over the past 12 years, the men who will be answering those questions having proven themselves very serious when it comes to determining the future of their organisations. They allow no room for sentiment, and never allow themselves to settle for anything less than the desired outcome. Success and failure isn’t purely measured through things like trophies and victories (though they certainly help); they’re dictated by whether the organisation performed up to expectations, and whether such expectations could be better served by a change in leadership.

The impetus for this reflection, of course, is the defeat to Villa in the FA Cup semi-final. Because it was so disappointing. Because it came so short of expectations. Because, not for the first time this season, Liverpool came up against a massive occasion and found themselves simply unable to deal. Because, for all of Brendan Rodgers’ strengths as a manager — tactical flexibility, a man-management style built on unwavering confidence and belief in his players (most of them, anyway), and a general philosophy and approach to football capable of yielding some awe-inspiring, absolutely gorgeous performances — it’s apparent at this point that there are some very real, potentially fatal flaws as well.

How else can you justify the ceaseless tweaking that saw Liverpool roll out three different systems of play against Villa in under an hour — despite the fact that the 3-4-2-1, while shaky at times, had seen us grind our way (as one often must in a cup semi-final) to a 1-0 lead? How else do you explain replacing Lazar Markovic — a talented young player who, while underwhelming, hardly deserved yet another unceremonious halftime hauling-off — with a player in Mario Balotelli whom the manager appears simply unable to make his mind up about?

And while anyone could see the rationale in moving the invisible Steven Gerrard back into a deep-lying role in midfield in order to get him on the ball, was there anything more frustrating than seeing Rodgers tactically turn the clock back to the dismal days of this past autumn? In terms of both overall approach and the personnel on the pitch, the 4-5-1 that Liverpool rolled out to start the second half — Skrtel and Lovren at the back, Gerrard in a holding role, Coutinho shunted out wide and Balotelli floating around up top — was virtually the exact same setup that had brought about the aforementioned, atrocious start to this season.


Hence, it was no surprise when Villa went up 2-1; we all could see it coming. Gerrard, hung out to dry, getting bypassed at will in midfield. Liverpool with no answers, Rodgers with nothing left to change. Every club must deal with injuries, every club invests in signings that don’t reap immediate dividends. But it is Liverpool — having once more lost a winnable contest to an inferior team simply better prepared than them– who are slipping ever so closer to a truly lost season

These are the sorts of issues that will now surely bring about questions regarding whether Liverpool are heading in the right direction under their current management. We know, in all likelihood, what the answer to the first question to be posed at the end of the season will be; it’s the second question that will now come under increased scrutiny.

Circumstances being what they may, Liverpool have experienced enough setbacks in the pursuit of their greater goals as a football club this season that’s its worth asking whether things are truly heading in the right direction under this manager.

It is a question, we can safely assume, that the shrewd men who run Liverpool Football Club will be posing as well.

As in 2003 and 2012, the odds are that Brendan Rodgers, as manager of Liverpool Football Club, will find himself accountable to the answers provided by the administration of John Henry and Tom Werner.

Because irrespective of what you or I or any Liverpool supporter around the world may think, this season has almost certainly not lived up to their expectations. And there are other men out there — men in Dortmund, men in Naples, men in Madrid; men who know football, and what it takes to win at the highest level of the game — who they could very well turn to in Brendan Rodgers’ stead.


Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo

Like The Anfield Wrap on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter


  1. Knowing FSG, they’ll offer prospective managers incentivised contracts on low starting salary, and they’ll all (bar one – and we all know who that is) tell the owners where to stick their offers.

  2. FSG “shrewd”? Don’t know about that. Removing Hodgson was excellent but keeping Kenny on was a gamble. They decided to cut their losses but appointing Rodgers was the biggest gamble of all. A nothing CV and loads of blather is not the usual profile of a Liverpool manager. He then appoints a backroom staff with nothing CVs and we set off on a 3 year roller coaster with nothing won, a near miss and many signings, most of dubious quality. His ‘philosophy’ hardly makes an appearance and we end up not knowing how our team will perform on a weekly basis. FSG will have to decide to back this bloke 100% and risk an implosion or get rid and find somebody in who can repair the damage.
    I suspect they will do neither, just keep the guy on, see how things go and hope he does OK by Christmas. Not that shrewd.

  3. TBH, the history repeating, for me, is that of the 1996 FA Cup Final – coincidentally, as there’s a book, “Men in White Suits”, out about that era.
    For Rodgers, read Roy Evans – a man who had Liverpool playing beautiful stuff with 3 at the back.
    For Suarez, read Robbie Fowler.
    For Balotelli, read Stan Collymore.
    For Stevie G, read John Barnes – a genius whose legs had gone.
    For the 0-2 vs Chelsea, read the 1-3 vs United in April ’97.
    For yesterday’s game, read the no-show in the ’96 Cup Final.

    Whether this is the end for Rodgers, who knows? Klopp, Rafa and Ancelotti are all likely be available in the summer.
    Perhaps we’ll plump for Big Sam, instead!?

    • An excellent comparison with Evans. Eerie how similar it is.

    • Top post, the comparison with the Utd FA Cup capitulation is absolutely 100% spot on. And watching Pascoe fumbling chaotically with his file on the touchline as Johnson waited patiently to hear what he was trying to convey does make one wonder whether this lot do have the nous, the pedigree and the balls to get the job done.

    • There are definitely Evans/Rodgers comparisons to be made, especially given their horrific defensive records & being in charge when we performed pathetically in Europe.

      However I can’t have the comparison between losing in the last minute to a superb Utd team with Ferguson as manager in the final of a competition that meant something (it still did 20 years ago) and capitulating to relegation threatened Villa with Timmy Tactics as manager in the semi final of a competition none of the big clubs really give a fuck about.

  4. Most reds laughed in despair when rookie Swansea manager with no success got the job. We supported him and FSG’s decision and he got 3 years and won nothing, despite earning credit for a great attempt at winning the league last year despite the team leaking 50 goals like it was a comedy act.

    It’s time now for John Henry to step up as Liverpool Football Club owner and show what his ambition for the club is. Otherwise the fans growing anger isn’t going to turn on scapegoat managers, but on him. A top European manager is available. He has admitted admiration for Liverpool FC in the past.

    Let’s show we finally mean business and start bringing in proven quality.

    • I read earlier today that Klopp admitted to a writer that there are three clubs he has on his wishlist. Us, Manure and Real Madrid. Manure are out as LVG looks to be getting them back to CL football. Real Madrid might be open if they can’t beat Atlético Madrid this week.

    • Anger…? Most fans….? Koop I take it is the manager you want…..?
      As a Red Sox fan, as an ex-pat from home watched that game with Pedro, screamed to get Pedro out, thought Little did a good job but baseball is different in every way!
      Do FSG have the right man in Ayre? Our transfers of players as we know don sit with BR alone. Theo Epstein was the GM of the Sox who got the players in while Little “coached/managed” them, that’s how it works in baseball. Is Ayre the man to bring in BR or Klopps players?

  5. The decisions made by FSG over Red Sox bear no influence on the decisions FSG make over LFC. John Henry is a Red Sox supporter who owns Red Sox. He is also a Red Sox supporter who is a businessman who owns LFC and has not interest in the sporting performance unless it is directly linked to increased profitability. Which it probably isn’t. The level of performance we see now put LFC in a position if peak efficiency for profit generation. After all, FSG need to fund baseball players.

    • Ridiculous stuff here.

      FSG want us as profitable as possible so then can sell us in the future to Arab Princes for a massive profit. This is not a bad thing – how can anyone thing increasing our value as a club is anything but hughely positive? – but a lot of LFC fans seem to think it is. FSG are not in the business of asset stripping our club. They are not Hicks/gillette mark ii. They haven’t taken a penny from the club. Everything they’ve earnt from new sponsorship deals has been handed to Rodgers and the transfer committee in order to make us as successful on the pitch as possible. They are not looking to do things on the cheap just because we can’t spend like Utd & Chelsea on wages.

      This plan does not happen unless we are a success on the field. They are close to maximising our off field value with great work on the branding/commercial side of things. But we are nowhere near being as successful on the pitch, especially given we won’t even be in the champions league.

      FSG won’t stand for it. I’d be smazed if feelers haven’t been sent to Klopp already. And if he’s interested I’d be amazed if we don’t sack Rodgers and appoint a proven winner with great knowledge of a league packed with young talent who players will want tonplay for. It’ll be rafa’s spanish revolution all over again, only this time it will be Klopp’s german invasion. And in football, german’s tend to win.

  6. FSG are definitely ruthless, and the biggest factor will be that they would’ve expected a better result from the 120 mil that was invested in the squad this season, and that will ultimately be Rodgers’ undoing, I think, also that committee

    Change of manager is the minor detail here, I have no doubt if they decide to change they’d be changing the whole structure that was in place. They’d want their DoF

    I look at the squad and it certainly has a lot more to work with than when Rodgers took over.

  7. Interesting – it’s real stick or twist stuff. I desperately want Brendan to succeed, because if he did it would give us the type of stability that could lead (potentially) to a dynasty. Where’s he going to go after, say, a decade at Liverpool? Unlike a top continental coach, he is more likely to stay put over a period of multiple contracts. At the end of it a proper chain of succession might have been established, the prototype for how teams at all grades play the game, and the promotion of youth etc would be de rigeur, fully set up.
    And yet… It all depends, all of it, on Rodgers being a success, of showing that he’s learning, that he’s improving, that he is the one. This time last year it was nailed on. Now, it’s not certain at all.
    I think the next half dozen games are vital and if he’s still in charge next season – and on balance he probably should be – then this summer’s transfer business is probably the most vital window in years and BR must get off to a flyer and step up individually (eg, no more unnecessary or daft comments to the press – see the most recent nonsense re City, including the gratuitous reference to ‘having spoken to them’ a few years back). If it doesn’t work out and we miss the Klopp bus, well, shite. But things need to get back on the rails and quickly or we could be a few more dud appointments/transfers away from really screwing it up.

  8. pauloffinland

    3. Is there a better manager available?

    There should always be that third question, and for the first time there may be. Whether Jurgen Klopp is interested is another matter, I suspect he is, and may well be in place at the end of season.

    I like Brendan Rodgers but yesterday’s performance really felt like a tipping point. Leaving aside transfer issues and injuries, consider the following:

    1. We almost won the league last season playing direct, fast-flowing, counter-attacking football. With that thought in mind, the disastrous Chelsea game was a harbinger for this season: slow, possession-based football that results in very few goals or chances.

    2. From the very first game of the season it was clear that we’d once again abandoned the direct style in favour of labourious possession-based football with similar results: it’s too easy to defend against Brendan!

    3. Why haven’t we seen Raheem Sterling in his breakthrough role this season? Last season his best performances came when played as a deep-lying no 10 behind Suarez and Sturridge and ahead of Coutinho. If memory serves, neither or Coutinho have played that role once this season.

    The above comes with caveats of course; we didn’t have the strikers to play a diamond once Sturridge was injured, and Suarez was a huge, huge loss. But we’ve regressed, we’re far to easy to defend against. Formations aren’t the problem, balance is. Three at the back works defensively, so play two up top! It seems to me that he’s tried to forge a hybrid out of his favoured 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 and got the balance wrong. I still think he’s a good manager, but Klopp may be better, and he’d have us playing the type of football we enjoyed so much last season.

  9. It’s the signings that give me greatest cause of concern when it comes to Rogers. I don’t think he’s any good at spotting players to fit his “system”(which changes by the month).

    And how strong willed is Rogers behind the scenes? Maybe he’s just happy to be at a prestigious club and enjoys all the trappings. How else do you explain the Balotelli signing? A player he didn’t want but went all with anyway….why? He has ultimate power, no one gets signed without his approval.

    • pauloffinland

      Who knows, but the real risk of changing systems all the time is what happens to the youth and development teams? Are they now playing 3-4-3, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 or are they as clueless as the first team yesterday?

      At our best we play great football, everyone can play and that’s a testament to Rodgers ability as a coach, but at our worst we’re a disorganised rabble with a soft-centre.

  10. I normally value brevity so please bear with me on the length of this post…

    There’s an issue that crops up repeatedly, its raised its head again in the article above and it needs to be addressed here. Finishing second in the Premiership last year. Was it a promise of things to come or a freakish blip where all the stars almost, but didn’t quite, line up?

    There are, generally speaking, two ways to view that 2nd placing – glass half full or half empty.
    The glass full view is basically that outlined above. Liverpool did far better than anyone had any right to expect and therefore did tremendously well to achieve second place. Had Liverpool come from nowhere at the start of the season to progressively storm up to second right at the very end of the season then this view would undoubtedly hold a little more water.

    The empty glass view is that Liverpool ought to have won it, the Premiership title was effectively thrown away. We didn’t end up second after chasing, we ended up second after conceding our lead in the table. And this is where the view fundamentally differs from the full glass view. For a period Liverpool were mathematically the winners – points were in the bag, there were games in hand. We were scoring goals for fun and we had the momentum. But it all went wrong. We all know the turning points: Stevie G’s slip, Henderson’s dismissal, a few other incidents / mishaps but most crucially, and what I personally consider the turning point, the 3-3 draw at Palace after being 3-0 up with 15 minutes to go.

    Liverpool weren’t an unlucky second last season – Liverpool threw it away. There’s an important difference.

    It is stated above that Rodgers proved he’s the right man by taking us so close – second place! But the doubters will use the exact same fact to point out the opposite – that when he had the title in Liverpool’s grasp he let it slip. We ended up second when, deep down, we all suspect that the title should have been ours.

    Anyone sitting on the half full / half empty fence regarding Brendan Rodgers could do worse than contemplate this – imagine for a moment that Brendan Rodgers were to leave Liverpool and go to A. N. Other football club, presumably an English one. Do you envision him transforming it and leading it on to bigger and better things? Or not? Will you be eternally sorry we let him go or will you be thinking it was three seasons wasted?
    There isn’t a simple answer to be honest if only because it’s all to easy to envision a future where Liverpool are doing a lot worse than we are now and looking back with disbelief that we let Suarez go, let good old Brendan go, treated Stevie G like shit…. Because if we do badly after getting rid of Rodgers that’s how the past will be viewed – as a missed opportunity.
    Of course it always pays to remember that at the start of 1990 Manchester United under Alex Ferguson were a fag paper away from being relegated. But then of course Ferguson won an FA Cup final….


    As a footnote and apropos of absolutely fuck all I’ve written above, can I also point out that whoever green lit that five part Channel 5 documentary on Rodgers should be shot. Channel 5 were in a no lose situation. If Rodgers went on to win loads they had a documentary in the bag that chronicled a heart-warming story of success – result for C5 and LFC. If Rodgers went on to fail they had a documentary in the bag that chronicled a heart-breaking story of hubris – result for C5. I don’t think I need to point out which of the aforementioned, at this moment in time, seems the most likely.

    • Or maybe we only challenged last season because of the outrageous form of Suarez?

    • pauloffinland

      Good post, couldn’t agree more about Heidegger’s Being: Liverpool. Total. Fucking. Disaster.

      I do, however, think there’s a middle position. No-one expected us to win the title this season, not the fans, not the owners, especially after Suarez was sold. All that was required was a top four finish. Consolidation. United and Spurs were in transition and we’ve all seen what’s happened to City. So, whilst last season was an amazing roller coaster ride, and I’ll always be grateful, I don’t think it should have been beyond Brendan and the players’ abilities to finish in the top four this season. Do that and the doubters would have little currency. We’re paying for a very poor start to the season by the manager and the players: there’s no getting away from that.

      • That’s just the thing. We didn’t accomplish any of the three pre-season goals. None of them!! Lets go over them again.

        1.) Advance to the knock-out stage of the CL. Failed. We controlled our own destiny there and failed.

        2.) Finish Top 4 this season. Highly unlikely at this point. Could have also assured CL next year by winning Europa League but we didn’t take that seriously, so no fall back.

        3.) Win a trophy, any trophy. Which meant, in all likelihood either the FA Cup for Capital One Cup. We failed at both of those.

        While I’d give BR one more year, unless they somehow get Klopp to come, what does it say about FSG if they keep a manager who failed to reach any of the three goals set for the team in pre-season?

      • Exactly Paul. The club and manager were in a very unique position where the fans would be happy if we did worse than last season, slightly!!
        I said at the start of the season that I’d be happy with top 4, out of the CL group stages and the icing on the cake would be a domestic cup.
        But nothing we did from the summer on came remotely close.
        We played so badly until the middle of Dec leaving us so much to do to catch up that any slight slips would knock us drastically off course.
        And now here we are!

    • What was it? 13 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat in the last 15 games? Anyone who classifies a finish like that as “throwing away” anything needs professional help. Footballing logic (coming from 8th to 2nd, 40 out of our last 45 available points) says we had no right to be anywhere near a second-place finish.

      The longer you stay unbeaten, the nearer you are to your next defeat. We didn’t throw away the game against Chelsea because the manager threw caution to the wind and left us exposed in a game we could afford to draw. Gerrard slipped on his arse, and without that slip the game ends in a turgid 0-0 draw and we probably win the league. It’s luck, fate, whatever. If Sterling’s goal at City isn’t flagged offside by a meth-head linesman, that game probably sees a 4 point turnaround and it doesn’t even matter whether we lose to Chelsea. Ifs and buts and no doubt City have a hatful of their own they can point to. Fact remains, we didn’t throw anything away.

    • I think the answer is both although, to be fair, the Palace game was merely the nail in the coffin. Once we lost the Chelsea game, and City, inspired by that, beat Palace 2-0 2 hours later, they only had to win their last 3 games to win it, given the goal difference. Everton’s shameful performance at Goodison meant they had effectively won it, bar Liverpool winning 7 or 8 nil at Palace.
      (Villa and then West Ham at home representing the ultimate “gimme”s for any title-chasing team; there’s no comparison with QPR in the famous 3-2 Agueeeeeeero Game, as QPR had survival riding on that game. Villa and West Ham had nothing to play for.)
      Only that sort of result would have made any difference, so they were right to aim for it; but, at 3-1 up, they should have shut up shop. It’s the failure to do that, rather than going for the Nearly Impossible for the first 80 minutes, that was Rodgers’ fault.

      Had we drawn the Chelsea game, meaning 2 simple wins vs Palace and Newcastle were mathematically enough, then blowing a 3-0 lead at Palace would eminently constitute “blowing the league.”
      It’s that single point that made all the difference.

      • b.b:
        Too simplistic.

        pauloffinland & Fergal:
        Yeah, I used a black and white approach to make a point or two. Lots of grey in-between.

        I disagree.
        “needs professional help”
        The sentence “The longer you stay unbeaten, the nearer you are to your next defeat.” has real no meaning, its a platitude.
        I don’t see how the team manager throwing caution to the wind and leaving us exposed isn’t the same as throwing a game away. Genuinely puzzled.
        Highlighting incidents where things didn’t quite go for us because of misfortune or dodgy officiating over the season is fine as long as you then highlight the moments where misfortune or dodgy officiating went in our favour over the season. Your approach strikes me as overly partisan. I believe in the school of thought that these things tend to even themselves out however you may have a different view. Each to their own.
        Citing an opinion as a fact does not then make that opinion a fact. That’s not how facts work.
        In my view we were in a position where we were masters of our own destiny, that’s to say we weren’t relying on other teams to lose or draw, we just needed to win our own games. Having done extraordinarily well to get into the position where we could win the Premiership we eventually didn’t which can be viewed as throwing it away.

        • I’m talking within the context of the run we made that even gave us a sniff of the title. On the basis that no one wins forever, if you’re on an extended run of wins you are, logically, getting closer to the next time you lose. You just are. If you need to break the EPL record for most consecutive wins to wind up champions, I don’t see how a failure to achieve that can be construed as “throwing it away”. On that basis, every team with a chance of winning the league that doesn’t has ‘thrown it away’.

          Over the course of an entire season we had our destiny in our hands for how many days? And we were never more than one defeat away from ceding that control of our destiny. It’s hardly Newcastle and their 14pt lead over United.

          Apologies for the confusion on the point about the Chelsea game. I could have phrased it better. I’m saying that we lost because of a freak mishap, not because we went balls out to win a game we could afford to draw (which could be argued as ‘throwing it away’) . Chelsea weren’t even trying to score and without Gerrard’s slip we draw and probably finish champions.

          So we lost one game in a run in of 15, and it took a freakish incident even for that to happen. Sorry, but as gutted as I was at the time and remain to this day, I don’t see how that can be called ‘throwing it away’.

        • Last thing. You misunderstand my point about other events in the season that cost us points. I already said that City could point to their own incidents so I’m not claiming we were hard done by. I’m saying that for Gerrard’s slip read Sterling’s offside. These things happen right through a season and they are the sorts of incidents that sometimes decide games, just like it did the Chelsea game. I’m sure that just as we experienced a cruel twist of fate against Chelsea, there were other games where we benefited. ‘One of those things’ rather than ‘throwing it away’.

  11. The thing that shits me the most with how we play nowadays is how slow we try to move to ball, compare to last season, when we’d get the ball back in our half then try to score in 4 touches.

    Nowadays we just pass it around very slowly looking to manufacture the perfect clear cut chance before doing anything adventurous

    I am just not sure how exactly is Rodgers trying to get us to play, too many mixed messages

    And I bet the transfer committee would be gone in the summer and be replaced by a DoF

  12. History:

    A club gets promotion.

    Young player has a good 6 months in his first year in top flight football.

    LFC feel like we have to have him and over pay even though no other club is interested because we are “a club that brings through talent with a manager that nurtures young players and turns them into Premier League stars” even though there isn’t a single shred of evidence to justify this fallacy (There was no choice but to force Sterling into first team). It’s a romantic notion that league titles can be won by investing time and belief into young, CHEAP players but not in this game. Not now. Not ever!

    Young player is now at a club where expectations are much higher but they are no longer the star player at an average team. They can’t play their preferred position of main man in midfield or prominent focus up front or dominant centre back because they are at Liverpool and do have the experience or champion mentality our targets should posses.

    The potential seen at the smaller club where they were playing every game and the other 10 players appreciated they were the main man and played around them no longer happens and it becomes evident they where good for the mediocre club, but not good enough to win titles.

    History repeating.

    Danny Ings…

  13. A good article, ruined by the claim that “the fact that the 3-4-2-1, while shaky at times, had seen us grind our way (as one often must in a cup semi-final) to a 1-0 lead?” – when we clearly changed to 4231 after 20 minutes, and that the goal arrived with this formation, not 3421.

  14. Get behind the manager and the team.
    Brendan Rodgers deserves at least another season.

    Sick of comments about Klopp, Benitez etc.

    Rodgers is Liverpool’s Manager so talk of these so called experts is all crap.

    Klopp is struggling in the league this season and it was only a short time ago the majority of our fans wanted Benitez out.

    • It’s easy to say that” the majority of our fans wanted Benitez out” without any evidence. I can equally say that the majority of our fans anted Benitez to stay. All I know from going to the match is that those around me were not happy he had been sacked in a callous and cowardly way and replaced with a fool. Most around me, wanted him to continue with the job he started with the backing of a new regime. Still Purslow and Broughton, those football giants knew better.

      • There was definitely a non-trivial number of LFC fans who *did* want Benitez out. If you drew a Venn diagram illustrating those who wanted him out at the time and those who are calling for his return now, I’d bet there’d be a sizeable overlap.

    • Klopp is struggling because of injuries and because they never replaced the players sold to Bayern.

  15. Troutbeck_Red

    FSG are not ruthless they are cowards, they do not support the manager, either Kenny or Brendan they put in place command chains so that they remain Teflon and then hang everybody out to dry.

    Bob Paisley was ruthless, Rafa was ruthless, Gerrard and Carra would have been sold at the end 2010 under Bobs no 1 rule, let players legs go on other people’s pitch. Souness, Emlyn, Kennedy all sold as their legs were going, the money recycled.

    It’s easy sacking a weak or inexperienced manager that the fans have no affinity with, being ruthless isn’t putting Gerrard in the position he thinks is his best, being ruthless is not letting Suarez go without a replacement, being ruthless is saying to Barca, Suarez for Sanches end of, if not pick up the phone to Madrid and ask about Benzema.

    Being ruthless is sitting Sterling down last summer with Sturridge, Coutinho and Henderson and giving them all 5 year contracts so that no other team get a sniff, if Henderson or Joe Allen are not considered good enough then cash in and buy a replacement that costs 25- 30 mil and say to Fabergas or whoever I want your best 5 years and I want you as my captain.

    Keegan great player, Kenny your the replacement, you perform week in week out and score a load of goals, we are building the team around you, you have our total support from Chairman to Tea lady. That is being ruthless, being weak is buying a 20 year old and then playing him at wing back, or putting a winger up front when you have an International forward on the bench.

    If you play 433 then the three up front must score goals, if you buy Balotelli then he must be one of the three if Sturridge is out, if not dont buy him, and if Brendan the executive say it Balotelli or nobody then resign over it, because your stock will never be higher and if you don’t you will always be a yes man in the corporate jungle and they will blame you regardless of circumstances and you will have the rug pulled, if FSG do that to Kenny then they will do it to you.

    All FSG are, are spoilt rich kids that are fundamentally cowards that bully all around them, they can do this because they employ yes men and if it goes wrong they have put in place management systems that cover there own arses leaving others to carry the can for not getting in the correct players or keeping the existing ones, players like coaches are interchangeable and this in the boardroom is seen as ruthless when in fact it is the opposite.

    A strong confident board would have confidence in their own judgement and appoint a manager that had total responsibility with enough checks and Balances in place. They would employ a Clough, Marinho or a Rafa and if they really had balls they would promote from within managers with no experience that had absorbed a club culture and philosophy based on simple rules handed down from generation to generation.

    Have 11 leaders on the pitch
    Choose a system and buy players for that system
    Buy players under 23 and sell them at 30 unless there are good reasons to keep them
    Constantly improve and tweak your best 11
    Have a plan B but not at the expense of plan A
    When it goes well keep everyone happy and get them to
    Sign contracts early
    If a Top player leaves replace them as like for like as possible

    All the above was laid down by John Smith and Bob Paisley and if you follow it as Fergie did and Rafa you will not go far wrong, you will make mistakes but you will be your mistakes and everyone at the club will learn and not try and do it again. Even Fergie gave in to Rooney and people said it was a sign of weakness when in fact it was a sign of strength, Fergie needed Rooney and put his ego to one side until the contract was signed. I hate Fergie but respect is due he had learned that you cannot win every battle, sometimes you loose a battle to win the war

  16. Hopefully they do something about the structure of the whole footballing operation before they think about getting a new manager. I’m open to the idea of a change of manager, but I fear doing that without creating the foundation first would be a waste of time and money. No point going after the likes of Klopp or De Boer without having a proper setup to offer them. They’re both working at clubs with a highly functional and streamlined setup, and I’m not sure they’d be too impressed with our half n’ half way of dealing with things.

    “Well, it’s sort of a European model, although not really anything like it at all…Sure, you get to decide which players we sign…although not really…maybe…”

    Structure first – then hire the manager/head coach based on that. And maybe they should think about adding some footballing knowledge at the top end of the whole operation. Create a technical staff of intelligent people who know football (and the club). A structure that is there regardless of who the manager happens to be. A spine, basically.

    It’s either that or follow the old English model and give the manager all the power. No compromise. Give him what he wants, and a couple of years to see if he can make it work and create some sort of methodology or structural legacy the club can assimilate and use for future reference.

    That model isn’t very sustainable though, as it’s based on individuals, and I don’t think it is FSG’s preferred model.

    Besides, I think Rodgers may have already put certain things in place. I think part of his job description was to establish some principles, probably more so at youth level or club level in generalrather than at first team level specifically. Hopefully some seeds has been planted that the next manager can build on – whenever and whoever that is. Because the last thing this club needs is yet another ‘year zero’. Feels like we’ve done nothing but hitting the reset button the last fifteen years.

    A lot of possible solutions here for FSG in terms of how the club moves forward at first team level; but if they think getting a new manager is the best one – without making changes higher up and building a solid footballing foundation that dictates how the club runs the footballing operation (scouting, recruitment, education and integration of youth players) – then it’s all up in the air.

    • Wasn’t Rodgers’s original claim to fame being the manager of the Chelsea youth squad?

      • I think so, yes. Youth and reserve coach at Chelsea, and then I also think he was academy director at Reading (?) before he started his managerial career.

        • Right. So a lot of his experience is with youth players. Developing them. Is it any wonder then of the growth of players like Sterling, Ibe and The Little Magician? Does make me wonder what his ceiling is as a manager though.

  17. If we boot Rodgers at the end of this season, we’ll start 2015-16 with our 5th different manager in 7 seasons. There was a time when we used to laugh at clubs with that sort of profile. That’s before we think about the 30-40mil in payoffs we’ll have shouldered in recent times if we get rid of Rodgers, too. That’s your would-class, 20+ goals a season striker right there.

    • You don’t think it was good business paying off Hodgson? I do. How about Kenny? Im glad we got rid of him too. I called for both to go.

      I wanted Rafa to stay but then that wasn’t FSG so he isn’t relevant. And I clearly want Rodgers to go. Theres the 4 managers you refer to.

      The 5th? Bottom line is people were unsure if getting rid of Houllier was right. I wasn’t. I was on the fence at the time (it does happen) But then we were linked with some top managers. And we got Rafa.

      Point being, as Paul said above, you must ask if there is a better manager available and if so can we get them. We know 100% there is at least 1 (klopp) better manager available. I’d say come this summer we could probably get another 2 managers (de boer & rafa) who are better. And there may even be another few out there who are definitley better than Rodgers and will be available (ancelotti, conte, capello, pelegrinni, simeone) although I doubt we’d get any of them.

      So its not just all about #rodgersout, its about the fact there is better managers available to replace him with.

      That was not the case when the cunts running the club got rid of Rafa.

    • pauloffinland

      Brownie, you’re not thinking straight. It’s not a question of becoming one of ‘those types of club’ it’s a potentially one-off situation: one of the top young managers in Europe with demonstrable European and domestic success, that fits the club’s criteria and plays the type of football that would get the fans off their seats, has become available. I’ve backed Brendan but FSG would be failing in their duties as owners were they not to consider Klopp given the season we’ve just endured. Don’t let your heart rule your head.

      • Paul, in the long run, it absolutely does matter how the club is perceived by both prospective players and managers. There will come a time – probably not that far off – when these comments boxes are filled with people decrying LFC’s underperformance (for which read ‘par’) under Klopp, and then we’ll be sat here contemplating who we can attract to take us to the promised land. At that point, it matters a ton whether we look like a club that sticks or twists every time a manager comes up short (for which read ‘achieves par’).

        “Don’t let your heart rule your head.”

        Are you serious? This call for changing a manager who last year gave us our best showing in 20 years in the one competition that matters most to Liverpool fans is borne entirely of the self-delusion that a 19th title could be just around the corner if only we just got this manager or that player. There’s nothing wrong in having a dream, but consider this:

        The two clubs generally accepted as having the best chance of breaking the top four stranglehold on league titles are us and Spurs. The north London club have spent more than us in recent years trying to achieve this. In the last 8 years they’ve had 7 different managers, and Klopp would make it 5 for us in 7 years. Collectively, the two primary challenger clubs have mounted an assault on the title using 12 different managers in 8 years and between them have zero titles to show it. And the closest either club came – us last year – seemingly isn’t enough to save the manager’s arse in the eyes of some.

        The evidence is that changing your manager at the drop of a hat won’t work. It could be that nothing will work, but logic would suggest you try something a bit different – like sticking with a promising manager who came very close and letting him try to build something – rather than running in the direction of the shiniest new manager available.

        This analysis could prove wrong, but it’s still all ‘head’ rather than ‘heart’.

  18. Thirumoorthy Rathinakumar

    Brendan is a good Manager when it comes to managing players ! But he’s not a perfect coach when it comes to training players , not at least the back 3 / 4 . sometimes times he’s getting lucky with brilliant performances of players like Emre Can but still every one of us can see that’s not a fool proof or water tight defence whatsoever you call it ! I wish Brendan to be the teams players manager and I greedily wish Klopp to be the players coach !! A manager and a coach !! How does this sound ! Ultimately we need results !!

  19. Anthony Stewart

    To compare Collymore to Balotelli is a joke. For all his bellendness, his partnership with Fowler reaped approximately 100 goals inside 2 Seasons. As for Klopp, have we not had enough of “Flavour of the Month” Players…let alone Managers. Anybody remember Klaus Topmoller????

    • Please Tell me you aren’t comparing someone who reached one champions league final in one year where he had superb players like Ballack & as soon as they were sold he was fighting relegation, to someone like Klopp who came 6th, 5th, won two league titles, 2nd, 2nd, won a German FA Cup & reached a champions league final and quarter final over 6 years in which every summer he had his best players sold to his main domestic rival or Real Madrid (Sahin was as good as Krooos at Dortmund)

      Flavour of the month? Nonsense. He’s been touted for a major club for 3 years now. He’s the dogs bollocks and i’d be pissing my pants if we got him I’d be that happy. Sadly he’ll probably end up in Madrid or at City.

  20. Brian Tappenden

    Brownie was spot on. we didn’t throw the title away last season nor did we bottle it. City won it, we didn’t lose it. to win it we would of had to of taken 40 points out of 42. we took 37. that’s an incredible effort that deserves some praise not criticism .
    my own feeling is this season would of happened anyway , whether we had won the league last season or not. Don’t kid yourself that Suarez would of stayed too had we of won it. he was going no matter what.
    yesterday felt like a watershed moment. to be outplayed, out worked and out thought by a relegation threatened Villa, managed by Tim Sherwood , is simply unacceptable on every level.
    playing Gerrard on sentiment was a poor decision. he had no impact on the game at all although he wasn’t alone. we had 3 different players at right back in the 90 minutes. Hendo was out of his best position. Coutinho was stuck out on the left, wasted for the best part of 90 minutes and as for Sterling ? didn’t look arsed. which he hasn’t done for weeks now. incredible to think that he thinks he should be one of the highest paid players at the club. Villa,s Grealish looked like a young kid who should be on more than Sterling.
    Lovren . where do you start ? here is a defender who thought he would try his luck from 40 yards with virtually the last kick of the game, when we had numbers in and around the box. summed up his whole season.
    if FSG decide to pull the trigger on Rodgers then I wouldn’t be against giving Rafa another shot. his record in Europe is fantastic. he loves the club and city. has stated in the past that he would like to come back. I believe he would also have the pulling power in the transfer market. Klopp? great manager but I think he will end up elsewhere.
    if FSG stick with Rodgers, then he will be under intense scrutiny from the off next season, on a very short leash

  21. Someone said on the train back from Wembley last night ‘if rafa was in charge we would have got the results against Chelsea and Palace last season to win the league’
    my answer to that is ‘If Rafa was in charge we would have not been in the position to win the league!’

    • Your a genuis Stevie..your correct Rafa would not have been in a position to win the league as he dont do 42 game seasons or win leagues with 84 points in and compete with moyes..pelegrini..n mourinho in first season syndromes ..i think he prefers ferguson ..mourinho..n wengers invincibles without ffp. for your info in 05/06 we had .82 points in a 62 game season but it was only good enough for a toigher premier league .rafa lad did not do to bad with 12 million per season net spend ..we will all he grateful if somebody can do the same.. so who do you have in mind ?

  22. Zak
    I’m a season ticket holder and backed every manager we have had except Hodgson who the decision to bring him in I still cannot accept.
    I back Brendan Rodgers 100%
    I think he deserves time for what he brought us last season

  23. robin crimes

    I doubt it’d help Liverpool sacking Rodgers and I wouldn’t want them to either. I love all this manager talk. Get so and so in and all of a sudden those same players will win the league. I don’t think any manager can compete without proper strikers. If someone else came they’d have to buy them or they’d be in a similar position to Rodgers. He’d then want to bring his players in to suit his style. Then he’d need 3 years for it to come to fruition. I’d rather give Rodgers those years. By then he’ll be quite experienced. These 20 year olds we’ve got will be 23 in 3 years. I’d rather Rodgers carried on their development. Changing manager is not a magic wand to success.

    Then there’s FSG’s policy. That’s not getting scrapped either so it needs a manager like Rodgers at the helm. Surely, people can see Klopp is going to City. He announced it a few days after Pellegrini’s job became untenable. City’s owners are changing direction and for the policy they want to implement one would assume Klopp is perfect. If all else fails throw Rafa’s name in the mix. Jesus! When will this end? FSG are businessmen, they’re not gonna buy us Rafa as a good will gesture.

    I was really pissed off yesterday about the performance and some of Rodgers decisions and I slated them all on the way out the ground. But when I got to the car and put Talk Sport on or Talk shit as it should be called, they were saying social media has gone into meltdown with sack Rodgers. I was actually quite surprised. It kind of felt that getting beat in the semi was a sackable offence. But then a Liverpool fan came on from London and spoke so much I was actually embarrassing how fuckin clueless he was. I wish I could remember some of the things he said but it was Unfuckin-believable. Anyway, he reminded me that a lot of fans talk garbage.

    • What Robin said.

    • Why would he go to City considering this:

      Sounds to me as though he’d love to come, if FSG would meet his conditions.

      • robin crimes

        To be honest mate, I don’t really take any notice of bloggers or lazy journalism. I follow the bookies lead. They have a stake in it and have to get it right.

    • pauloffinland

      There’s a difference between those calling for Rodgers to be sacked and those who think we should go for Klopp. It may seem like semantics, but I don’t want Rodgers sacked, but would be really happy were we to appoint Klopp: in other words Brendan hasn’t become a bad manager overnight, and there’s very few managers I’d consider an upgrade – Jurgen Klopp is one, and its a freak set of circumstances that sees his availability coinciding with a spineless performance on Sunday.

      As for City: well that’s not the message the journalists are putting out. They’ve been told that City aren’t interested in Klopp. A fanciful suggestion would be Klopp to LFC, Rodgers to City! It will be interesting to see what happens at City, if the Barca guys are given the push then I’d expect to see Klopp installed.

  24. they could get Eddie Howe as our next…FSG can do anythin…u nvr know

  25. Kevin Barry

    Whenever Rodgers can, he sets out teams that can play his preferred sterile possession game. It is rubbish, and unproductive. Whenever he’s been forced to abandon ‘his’ strategy (second/hand and derided by Guardiola who was credited with its invention) because of injury the performances and results showed it. Last season his ‘tactics’ were taken from him because then play was dictated by Suarez, who was the ultimate free spirit.
    The first half of this season he had his druthers, ignoring the likes of Lucas, Sakho, and persisted with Lovren, who may or may not be a good player. Plus using Sterling and others in different positions every game. BUT, and this is the main fault in Brendan Rodgers’ management, is his inability to cope when his ‘plan’ is exploited by other managers. He will NEVER beat teams managed by the likes of Mourinho, Wenger more than once and then only by default. The CL is the raison d’être of clubs nowadays and Brendan Rodgers showed this season that he is not up to it. And selecting a team against RM that he clearly expected to lose was the absolute nadir.
    Even under KD we felt we could beat anybody: under Brendan Rodgers we believe any team can beat us. And so do they.

  26. I’m not one for over-reacting, I don’t want to see Brendan sacked (unless Rafa or Klopp are willing to take over). But the lack of progress this season is concerning. Blame whoever you want, bottom line is this season was not acceptable. Better players need to be signed, more money needs to be spent, the utter garbage we have in the squad needs sacking off, and the manager needs to get us back to playing crazy attacking football. Because right now we’re the footballing equivalent of prolapse porn, and it’s f*cking disgusting to watch.

  27. AndrewQAT

    Interestingly I do wonder if the people saying that Brendan deserves to stay because of last season where the ones that wanted Benitez to go, considering the season before we were 2nd.

    I suspect they would’nt admit to it.

    Rodgers bullshittery has caught up with him and it’ll be the same story next season too, but hey lets stick now, lets not be a laughing stock to others, best we keep our supposed dignity with a manager who clearly is floundering tactically and as a man-manager (Lucas & Sakho for the first 3-4 months, Suso, Borini, Balotelli, Manquillo etc etc etc)

    We have an opportunity to get in a proper winning manager, FSG should be doing all they can to do so.

  28. I think we all got a bit carried away with Brendan. He did well at Swansea but Swansea play in more space than Liverpool.

    Rogers was made to look like manager of the year by Luis Suarez. But our defense was still awful. Skrtel, fans player of the year, was reduced to looking like rubbish under Rogers management. Gerrard was never suited to the holding role, leaving Skrtel repeatedly exposed.

    Everyone could see it, except Rogers.

    When Suarez left, Rogers played Sturridge up front alone. Everyone could see Sturridge needed support, except Rogers … until half the season was gone.

    The public don’t see steady progress about the club. They see lots of money spent, too many bad deals and erratic performances.

    Rogers does seem to be well regarded by players as a coach, but we expect Liverpool to be more than a nursery club.

    Sterling wants out because he doesn’t believe he will get CL football under Rogers. Top flight players won’t come to Liverpool because of doubts about Rogers as a top flight manager. A top flight manager like Klopp would attract top flight players and our own stars would be more likely to stay.

    • robin crimes

      When Suarez left, Rogers played Sturridge up front alone. Everyone could see Sturridge needed support, except Rogers … until half the season was gone.

      You may want to re-evaluate that comment, unless of course there’s 6 games in a season.

  29. Those people screaming for Rodgers head are the same one who were screaming for Benitez’s head and they got their wish and we ended up with Woy Hodgson so be careful what you wish for.
    if we keep shouting for the manager to leave we will quickly become the next Newcastle or West Brom!
    isn’t our song ‘We Are Liverpool’

    • ‘Those people screaming for Rodgers head are the same one who were screaming for Benitez’s head’. That’s an unfair broad brush attack.

      I’m sure there were plenty screaming for Benitez to go who want Rogers to stay, as there are plenty of us who did not want Benitez to go but who do want Rogers to go, if we can get Klopp.

      • AndrewQAT


      • And I’m also sure there’s a fuck-off big overlap between those were all for drumming our Benitez and those who are doing the same now with Rodgers. There always is.

        • You do Rogers case no credit by lambasting those who express a view. If you think Rogers deserves more time, put the case. Your attack on those who argue he should be replaced suggests you have no case to put.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *