In terms of the Premiership, compared to 2013/14, this season Liverpool ended twenty-two points lighter, scored forty-nine goals less, lost double the amount of games & only managed five points from a possible twenty-four against the top four clubs. This is simply not good enough for a club of Liverpool’s history & reputation, and fans are asking questions of a board that have refused so far to even consider replacing Rodgers. Rodger’s record in charge does not make relaxing bedtime reading for fans of the Anfield club:
Premier League – 7th
FA Cup – Knocked out in 4th round by League One Oldham Athletic
League Cup – Knocked out in 4th round by Swansea
Europa League – Eliminated from the competition in the round of 32 by Zenit Saint Petersburg
Failed to qualify for European football
Premier League – 2nd Place
FA Cup – Knocked out in 5th round by Arsenal
League Cup – Knocked out in 3rd round by Manchester United
Qualified for Champions League as Premiership runners up
Premier League – 6th
FA Cup – Semi-final, knocked out by Aston Villa
League Cup -Semi-final, knocked out by Chelsea
Champions League – Failed to get out of Group Stages
Europa League – parachuted in as best placed loser in group but knocked out over two legs by Besiktas.
The only nugget of success was in season 2013/14 finishing second thanks largely to the contribution of Luis Suarez – a player signed by Rodger’s predecessor, Kenny Dalglish from Ajax for £22.8 million in January 2011. Rodgers and Dalglish have similar spending records in terms of total transfer fees paid (as demonstrated below) but the fact remains that Brendan Rodgers has failed to fill the boots of the Uruguayan hit-man and that arguably his most influential player this season (and showing the potential to be a replacement for the now departed Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard) is also a Dalglish signing, namely Jordan Henderson.
Transfer Records (Players signed)
Andy Carroll (Newcastle, £35 million)
Luis Suarez (Ajax, £22.8 million)
Stuart Downing (Aston Villa, £20 million)
Jordan Henderson (Sunderland, £16 million)
Sebastian Coates (National, £7 million)
Charlie Adam (Blackpool, £6.7 million)
Jose Enrique (Newcastle United, £5 million)
Craig Bellamy (Manchester City, Free transfer)
Doni – Roma (Free transfer)
Total: £112.5 million
Adam Lallana (Southampton, £23m)
Dejan Lovren (Southampton, £20m)
Lazar Markovic (Benfica, £20m)
Mario Balotelli (AC Milan, £16m)
Alberto Moreno (Sevilla, £12m)
Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen, £9.8m)
Rickie Lambert (Southampton, £4m)
Divock Origi (Lille, £10m)
The mistake Dalglish made was not a footballing mistake, his record in charge second time round was pretty good taking Liverpool to Wembley three times in the same season and winning the League Cup – Liverpool’s first trophy in six years. The mistake Dalglish made was to try and protect his star player, defending Suarez not once but twice following the striker’s eight-match ban in 2011 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, and his subsequent refusal to shake Evra’s hand when the teams met again in February 2012. Player & manager were ordered to make a public apology by the owners (Fenway Sports Group) but it is of little doubt that Dalglish’s fate had certainly already been sealed.
Following their worst showing in the Premiership since 1994 & failure to qualify for the Champions League for the third consecutive season, Dalglish was relieved of his position as manager in May 2012. Viewing these events retrospectively it can be argued that Dalglish fully understood & recognised the burgeoning potential of Luis Suarez and was prepared to fall on his sword for the good of the club he loves. Vindication came for Dalglish in season 2013-14 when but for an unfortunate Gerrard slip and an aberration at Selhurst Park days later, Liverpool would have won their first title for twenty-five years.
On the other hand, Brendan Rodgers, fearing a media backlash following successive biting incidents involving Suarez, firstly involving Branislav Ivanović of Chelsea in the Premier League and, secondly, Giorgio Chiellini playing for Italy at Brazil 2014) sold the man who almost won the title for Liverpool in 2013 and then went on to play a pivotal role in Barcelona’s domestic and European dominance this season. For the good of the club? History will decide.