It is back to the drawing board for Liverpool again.
Following the sacking of Kenny Dalglish in the summer of 2012 and the subsequent arrival of Brendan Rodgers, a lot was bandied about the Northern Irishman’s spell at Swansea City and his innovative and refreshing playing philosophy. His methods were deemed as the way forward for Liverpool.
Understandably, the Reds underwent a shaky start under Rodgers' regime and a couple of early defeats weren’t taken to the heart. The team slowly started to get acquainted to the new manager’s ideas and the path to reconstruction was dotted with both success and defeats.
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When defeats came, they were followed by comments of transition and a call for patience from Rodgers. A framework was being laid, results will come thick and fast afterwards, he promised.
Liverpool finished seventh in Rodgers' first season in charge. The club decided to remain loyal to him. After all, they had no qualms about the scope and size of his job. Restoring the Merseyside club’s lost stature in England and Europe was definitely bound to take time.
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And then it seemed Rodgers’ philosophy started to seep in. Results poured in. Liverpool mounted a sustained challenge, not for Champions League places, but for the Premier League title, only to fall short by two points to Manchester City at the end.
Rodgers was now embraced by the Anfield faithful as one of their own. A lost belief and spark in the eyes of the fans had returned.
But then came the downward spiral. Luis Suarez’s exit left a gaping hole in the Reds frontline. A horde of new signings failed to make a name for themselves. And before too soon, they were once again forced to hover at the fringes of Champions League qualification. A brief spell of wins in between raised the fans spirits, but it proved to be a false dawn.
The team imploded in the closing stages. Steven Gerrard’s swansong turned out to be nightmare. The Reds bid farewell to their hero in ambivalence; a heartily wave of goodbye in the background of 6-1 trouncing at the Britannia Stadium.
Now questions were once again asked of Rodgers’s managerial credentials. But as he often does, the Northern Irishman opts to tow his favourite stance riddled with pet words of transition and rebuilding. At the close of his third year at the helm, it wasn’t making much sense. FSG bought it, though.
And now here we are again, with a Liverpool team in a state of shambles. Four goals in the first six matches speak at great lengths of the impotency of their frontline. Forget the top division, Anfield does not even fluster fourth tier teams now (Liverpool’s duel with Carlisle United bearing testimony to that).
It’s not the results which are a source of worry, Liverpool are still only two points off the fourth place. It’s the waywardness, inconsistency, lack of incision and propensity to fail when tested which is painful to watch.
Rodgers is outselling his ideas of rebuilding the team and promises of turning the corner again. But its high time better sense prevailed in the upper tiers of Anfield hierarchy.
Time to sack Rodgers
Now is the time for John Henry to relieve Rodgers of his duties, as for the first time in many years Liverpool have an option of securing the services of a manager with proven track record and a stint with clubs of higher stature.
Rumours are doing the rounds that Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp are available for hire with some reports claiming that the latter is even willing to cut short his sabbatical to take over the Anfield reins.
If given more time, Rodgers will start delivering results. But it is his failure to build on success and deliver stability and continuity which is more manifest and makes him unfit for Liverpool job. And besides, the club has stuck by him for three years and any fruits which they have reaped as a result of it are devoid of the taste of success.
Ancelotti the best option
Liverpool’s priority should be to acquire the services of Ancelotti. His selection would be more viable as he already possesses Premier League experience, having steered Chelsea to a title win in 2010. He has also won three Champions League trophies as a manager.
Klopp’s appointment would also be welcomed by the fans. His exceptional spell at Borussia Dortmund, highlighted by two Bundesliga titles and a runner-up showing at the Champions League in 2013, surely puts him in the bracket of the current crop of elite managers.
However, his lack of Premier League could furrow a few eyebrows, to go with his poor last season at Dortmund.
Back in 2012, Liverpool axed Dalglish - a Kop legend and an immensely popular figure amongst the fans.
It was done in view of their abject performance in the season which preceded. He was shown the exit door with salutations and with the idea that it was time to look to the future.
It's time Liverpool did that with Brendan Rodgers.