Liverpool’s appointment at the beginning of the summer promised so much. Liverpool would finally play how the fans expect and, given some time, champions league matches could once again be held at Anfield. His inexperience merely brushed aside like that annoying biscuit crumb that sometimes gets caught in the beards of more manly men than I ever will be. “It’s the Liverpool spirit” they chimed. Giving a young manager with ambitions of ‘sexy football’ the reigns is part of Liverpool’s history. So much for long live the King.
And yet Liverpool have become that one girl on a night out that always manages to drink too much, bumbling their way through their opening games with the grace and fluidity of an over excited Nicklas Bendtner on a night out and deservedly receiving a jug of water to the face by West Brom’s 3-0 sobering scoreline.
Which all rather neatly leads us to the man himself. I’ll be the first to admit that criticising Liverpool’s style of play after three matches is very harsh. Rodger’s style of play at Swansea had been implemented for years under previous managers before him and the results were breathtaking. Sexy football takes time.
However the manner in which Rodgers has proceeded off the pitch stinks of inexperience and is synonymous of a man that looks more and more out of his depth. He is a man who changed his mind time and again as West Ham and Newcastle flirted with the idea of handing “cover player”(trademarked by Rodgers) Andy Carroll a nice loving home once again. Finally he quashed rumours of Carroll’s exit stating boldly that he would have to be a “nutcase even to consider at this moment to let Carroll go out [on loan]”. And yet here I am, 4:37pm, August 31, reviewing the deadline day activity with Carroll very much out of Anfield to West Ham … on loan.
Charlie Adam is another King Kenny recruit that has suffered at the hands of Rodger’s mismanagement. On August 23rd Rodgers denied rumours of an exit for the former Blackpool midfielder saying he tried to once sign him during his briefest of stints as Reading manager as if that would somehow dispel all rumours. Adam himself faced the media to stress his future lies at Anfield. And yet, 31st August, Adam has clearly left to join up with the Potters at Stoke City for £6M.
Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani. These two don’t have very much in common apart from their near super human abilities to break or injure a part of their own bodies seemingly at will. Rodgers once again, right at the start of his tenure claimed that they would be welcomed back with open arms and would be given an opportunity in his new look Liverpool side. There were those, fans and media, that were hailing Rodgers’ eye for a player and fully believed his new style of play would compliment Aquilani’s undoubtedly immaculate passing range at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield. So why then does he currently play in purple colours over in Italy? And why, just why, could Rodgers claim to give Cole a chance, evaluate after less than three months he’s no good and try to ship him off to Moscow? Perhaps Gerrard should be giving him the shifty eyes treatment at his stage of his career after he recently spoke out at Sven Goran Eriksson’s claim that Gerrard should leave Anfield to actually win a domestic league title.
As for the much maligned Steven Downing any suggestion he could challenge for a left back spot alongside Jose Enrique is just downright embarrassing.
Rodgers has also hinted his team should embrace a team goal ethic and not depend too much on the strikers hitting the back of the net. Which is a fantastic idea considering Liverpool’s strikers look like they’re on strike at the moment aiming for anything other than the net. But surely he should be focusing his strikers on doing just that and making sure they achieve what they are paid to do. Which all doesn’t sound too good considering Liverpool’s manager has spend almost £8M of his admittedly small budget on striker Fabio Borini with possibly more to come on deadline day, (sorry for living in the past).
Nuri Sahin is no doubt a quality player but with an eye to the long term does a loan deal seriously move Liverpool a step ahead of the rest? I believe not. Joe Allen suits this criteria but at £15M is a hell of a lot of money that could, and perhaps should, have been splurged on signing a proven goal scorer. Put it this way, between the latest two Arsenal departures Robin Van Persie and Alex Song, which one earned their side more points last season to clinch 3rd and a Champions League spot? The answer is obvious to everyone, even to Mr. Rodgers.
No one can truly believe Rodgers is indeed a nutcase but his flaws have been traumatically lived and spelled out across the media, not least Roberto Martinez basically confirming Rodgers was second choice for the job. Whilst many rightly pine for stability and patience in the modern game (including myself) the Northern Irishman must be aware he does not have a lot of time on his hands at a club that has a turnover of four managers in the past two years.
Creating such uncertainty and instability amongst his squad will not make the transition from drunken Nicklas Bendtner to a graceful tiki-taka side any easier for anybody. Not least the Liverpool hierarchy…