Brendan Rodgers – setting himself up for a fall

Brendan Rodgers LiverpoolThe €16 million fee paid for Mario Balotelli by Liverpool is one of the most discussed figures of the summer.

One full season of “well-behaved Mario” and the €16 million seems like a drop in the ocean, but if the “immature Mario” rears his head, then it will seem like a loss of a lot more than that. Brendan Rodgers seems convinced he is the man to change Mario Balotelli and for the first week it has been all smiles at Anfield Road.

Rodgers, not happy with being just a coach and a manager, seems to think of himself as a philosopher and a visionary, a storyteller with a quick wit. Undertaking the task of turning Balotelli’s career around is one that ultimately cost Roberto Mancini his career and ended very poorly for one of the best man-managers in the game – Jose Mourinho. What makes Rodgers think he can do any better?!

The Liverpool boss is a man who many are still largely divided on, and seems to think taming the Italian is a job he can do with ease with a different approach. He hasn’t tried to treat Balotelli like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill footballer, and he hasn’t gone ultimatum style either. He, instead, has been quite candid in his approach to the media’s questions.

He has been honest as to where Mario’s head is at, and has shared with the public some of the conversations they have had. Balotelli is aware that this could be his last chance at a big club. Rodgers is, however, breaking into Sam Allardyce territory with his constant need to tell the media just how calm and in control he is at the helm.

Rodgers seems confident, almost too confident. There is an element of arrogance to Rodgers in thinking that with a few simples rule changes and responsibility issues pushed on the Italian that this will be a walk in the park. “Mario has never defended a corner before until today”, Rodgers told the media after the Tottenham game and smiled when he said it.

There is a sense that Rodgers is setting himself up for a disaster here and when Balotelli does go through a frustrating patch, which is inevitable, and Rodgers shuts up shop on his sound bites, the fans will come looking for more adding more pressure to an already tense situation.

The similarities between Suarez and Balotelli have already been drawn but the two men are polar opposites. The Uruguayan’s problem is that he can’t fathom the thoughts of losing and acts out accordingly when he sees a loss in sight. His insatiable desire to win gets him into trouble on the field but on the training ground and by his teammates he has always been described as a consummate professional.

With Balotelli, on the other hand, you would be fair to question his desire to even play football at times. His body language can often give the impression that he has “checked-out” of certain games and has been criticized by ex-coaches and players with Jose Mourinho referring to the player as “unmanageable”. This is the Mario Balotelli that Rodgers must fix. Balotelli on a good day can match anyone for effort, entertainment and talent but it’s not about the anecdotes to the media, and the message that “all is well”, this is about a 38-game season with Champions League football and various other cup competitions in between. This is about having a consistently mature approach to ever aspect of his public and personal life.

All eyes will be on this brand new Mario Balotelli that Brendan Rodgers has promised that we will see. Suarez, Sturridge and anyone else who Rodgers has managed with an attitude will seem like teachers’ pets compared to Balotelli when push comes to shove in the Liverpool dressing room.

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Robbie Dunne

A student journalist who drinks too much coffee and takes too much stock in formations. I believe in Johan Cryuff and attacking football.

14 thoughts on “Brendan Rodgers – setting himself up for a fall

  1. Very boring, don’t you have anything to write about, another crap journo just waiting & wanting something bad to happen

  2. Robbie Dunne, you have to be a optimistic Manchester United fan and your sorry attempt at journalism is not going to be taken serious by anyone, this isn’t the Times or any form of media that’s informative, well researched or based on fact, it’s your opinion, which means nothing, have your been told by the gaffer if you don’t produce your back on JSA?, did you catch your boyfriend with another man?or have you upped your medication without discussing it with the doctor first, I heard through the grape vine, there’s vacancies going in the Post Office, much more in line with your sort of work, wouldn’t you agree!

  3. Poor article that lacks any real thought or substance. even i as an arsenal fan finds this badly written. you seem like you are praying for something bad to happen. don’t they ever do any editing around here?

  4. Not a very well written article, based on emotion and support of Manchester United… Little or no reference to Rogers’s passed history as a Manager. The is a calculated gamble to this transfer and no one would deny that however the gamble is certainly worth it.

  5. Well Sturridge injured during the international break so we’ll probably see Mario up front on his own against Villa and see how he does. He reminds me a bit of Collymore, Ie. you can see in his eyes if he’s up for the match or not!

  6. LFC fan here…Agree with a couple things said in this article.

    Yes, Brendan needs to stop with the Balotelli soundbites every chance he gets. I’m not sure about how much good comes from them in terms of how they affect Mario, the rest of the team and so on. And yes I do sometimes get that visionary/philosopher arrogance from Brendan who might say a little more than he needs to at times (won’t revisit any of those moments because I’m sure we’re aware.)

    HOWEVER, I am fine with his demeanour and approach because the results have been there so far AND I haven’t had too much a reason to doubt his methods as yet (particularly as relates to Suarez). Also, the idea that LFC need a full season of “well-behaved Mario” is ridiculous. Players will always have little behaviour issues here and there, they ARE human after all. Remember “hothead Rooney” at Everton? Or in his early days at United? HE was a fantastic player who if I remember correctly was guilty of similar troubles as Mario with his temper, tantrums while on the field, irritation when substituted and so on. But he got along fine, didn’t he? And don’t give me that talk about Sir Alex tamed him. This was virtually a week-in week-out occurrence at some point but he still managed to play at a top level. You might argue like you did in your juxtaposition of Mario and Luis above that what sets Young Rooney and Mario apart is the “insatiable desire to win” in Rooney and a lack thereof in Mario and I would be forced to agree. But in doing so however, you would be discounting a major factor that comes into play in this current situation. A factor that you have listed in your article when you say that, “Balotelli is aware that this could be his last chance at a big club”. Surely that has to count for something right? Right??? The possibility that he might never command his current £60,000 (or thereabout) wage at any other point in his career? The danger that he might no longer get to represent Italy at a national level?? (he’s already been dropped from Conte’s first squad) An agent in his ear who is constantly hammering these points into his head??? (if he’s a smart agent at least) These are things that linger. I mean he’s not stupid for goodness’ sake.

    Well, that’s being my little rant. I must add that while reading this article I sensed a kind of “hopeful that he fails” feeling rather than a “he is bound to fail” message but that might just be the LFC fan in me. Might you support any team of a red persuasion located in Manchester by any chance Mr. Dunne? Just curious!

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