Liverpool FC and the self proclaimed ‘nutcase’

by Tomos Llewellyn

Brendan Rodgers, where do we begin?

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…

14 Responses

  1. Stevie Grainger says:

    Saying you will give a player a chance is nothing more than just playing the transfer game and trying to up his value. I’m a Man United fan but I think Rodgers has shown balls getting rid of over-rated duds like Charlie Adam, injured jokers like Joe Cole and even Carroll, who is now playing with a club closer to his level.
    Not replacing Carroll was stupid obviously. And Rodgers like Henry and FSG are playing up to the more deluded fans by constantly talking the talk nearly every day. But Joe Allen, Borini and the youngsters he is playing are far superior than the muck brought in by previous managers and there is a lot of knee jerking too soon. Liverpool will most likely now beat United, Rodgers will be a hero, and the same cycle will start again.

  2. Paul Brady says:

    This is an opinion piece correct? Well I disagree with the opinions expressed. The points made are flawed and not substantiated with fact but merely a poor choice of language. Why is Downing an embarrassing left back? Opinions are only interesting when the person expressing them understands the long term process of building a football club and is not simply expressing their lack of understanding. Joe Allen is a good investment and the funds are not available to buy a proven goalscorer. Beating a man with a stick he didnt snap off the tree is a waste of time and energy.

  3. Paul Brady says:

    What does Bendtner have to do with LFC? Not trying to be offensive but this article is not good. Where is this insight into the mind of the Liverpool hierarchy coming from?

  4. ukdavo says:

    Who cares about Adam, Cole, etc – they’ve not made a meaningful contribution . Sahin – a loan is better than nothing (he wasn’t available to sign permanently). Joe Allen looks like their best player right now – 15m doesn’t seem that bad for a player that will undoubtedly improve (compare that to previous Liverpool signings). Carroll is hardly a loss. He simply does not suit the style of play BR wants. Yes they should’ve got another striker (Dempsey would’ve helped) but signing the right player without getting fleeced is not solely in the hands of the manager. So he says one thing and does another? Whoop-de-doo. Other managers (Fergie) does this all the time. A bit of a hysterical article. Calm down..

  5. Ross says:

    Maybe a little early to write off Brendan Rodgers and it is plain that Fenway are backing their man who they have hired at great expense. His tennure has not got off to a great start and that is entirely down to him. It would appear that he has not entirely grasped the lessons that his spell at Reading should have taught him.

  6. Tomos Llewellyn Tomos Llewellyn says:

    I agree it is completely too early to write off Brendan Rodgers, I said as much when I described judging him on three games is very harsh.

    However he has made some huge errors already off the pitch. I’m sure once he gets to grips with the job he’ll be ok.

    This is not another one of those “Rodgers Out” blogs. It’s just an acknowledgement that he hasn’t got off to the best of starts.

  7. James B says:

    ‘ No one can truly believe Rodgers is indeed a nutcase but his flaws have been traumatically lived and spelled out across the media’

    Sorry but he is a nutcase. His media interviews while at Reading were very similar. Totally contradictory with Rodgers totally unaware most were screaming for the men in white coats.
    in August…
    - he was building a world class team for promotion to the premierleague
    - making youth player Alex Pearce team captain comparing to John Terry on the BBC.
    -Speaking lots about signing Tommy Smith from Watford.
    -Signing Ryan Bertrand, Jobi McAnuff, Gregorz Rasiak, Brian Howard, Matt Mills and Shaun Cummings as they could play his way.

    And of course as the season went on and Reading stuck to the relegation zone, Tommy Smith went elsewhere on deadline day as Watford were angry with comments from Rodgers, Pearce was nervy and dropped, most of his signings were dropped or playing badly, the whole team was confused about passing it around the back leading to constant goalkeeping errors, the team missed all its chances, so Rodgers blamed the board for not backing him, didn’t have the players to play his way, and insisted it was a long term project that might involve rebuilding in League 1.

    When Rodgers demanded more money in december he was sacked with his team 23rd after 20 odd games. They went on to finish 8th and make the fa cup quarter finals.

    Rodgers spent 23m on Borini and Allen! Nutcase!

  8. Kieran says:

    One of the worst and misguided articles i have read for a long time. Change your career quickly matey.

    1. Paul Brady says:

      Seconded

  9. Brad says:

    I don’t think he ever changed his mind over Carroll, Adam or Aquilani. He didn’t want them but if you run around shouting that out to the world then you’ll wipe a significant chunk of their eventual sale value.

    I’ll remind you that Cole did get a chance throughout pre-season but he’s now injured again (having lasted a grand total of 34 mins in two games) , and apparently taking up in the region of 80-100K a week in wages. That’s not a value player. Spartak apparently came in with a good offer for a 30-year old, injury-prone player on comparatively high wages. No brainer to accept that.

    As for Allen, he can defend, control the ball in tight space and keep up the accurate passing rate. Exactly what we need in that midfield. He also only 22. That’s not bad value for a player who has easily been a stand out so far.

    Martinez? Why do I care what Martinez has to say? Even if he was first choice, he’s not the manager and has no impact on Rodgers.

    The Downing role makes some sense. He operates best when he’s had a bit of time to build up into a run and then drive at the opposition. He’s struggled to do that because he’s often receiving the ball at a stand still. Left back gives him that chance. Will he cut it defensively? Maybe. He’s not bad but only time will tell. Ashley Cole wasn’t always one of the greatest fullbacks in his generation.

  10. Tomos Llewellyn Tomos Llewellyn says:

    As I’ve already said this is not a “Rodgers Out” article. He has under performed off the pitch and the fact he only has two full strikers and scrounging around the freebie market is proof.

    As to the performances, like I said it is harsh to judge him on early performances and I do not intend to do so. He has suffered a bad start and needs to learn from his mistakes to make a success of himself in the future.

    His contradictory transfer remarks about his own players is not playing the transfer market. Not well anyway. From a players point of view, if Rodgers comes out and states that he sees X as part of his plans, how can X believe this?

    Everybody knew Joe Cole was injury prone since the beginning of the season and if Rodgers did not want him he should have said so from the start. The fact he included Cole in his team suggests he genuinely was serious about his inclusion, and not playing the transfer market for value.

    As for Allen, yes he is a quality player. BUT a striker should have been a priority. Having two senior strikers is unforgivable.

    1. Brad says:

      He handled the Carroll and subsequent striker situation entirely wrong, I’ll give you that. I don’t see the problem with how he’s dealt with the other transfers. That’s exactly how most managers would operate when coming into a new team. He would have a general idea of what players he thought would fit with his style but a) he doesn’t know for sure until he’s seen them, and b) he definitely doesn’t want to tell the world that he’s got a bunch of expensive dead wood that he’s desperate to get rid of.

      I think that most players know the score but they tow the line in the hope of getting a move.

      When not injured Cole could be a useful player from the bench, so it made sense to give him playing time. Visibility helps when you’re trying to offload a player too. It doesn’t need to be an either/or scenario. Sell if a decent offer comes in, try to get the best out of the player if it doesn’t.

      I also don’t think that Liverpool are in the free transfer market. There’s not really any value there at the moment, and as he stated in his latest press conference, he’ll look to youth players until January.

  11. Deano says:

    A thing called patience can go a long way. AGREE this article is an opinion piece in which I disagree with. Things take time in football and everybody knows that. The season itself is 38 games so after 3 games in charge and hardly sufficient time to create a squad he requires to play his style, I think we need to get off Roger’s back and support him.

    A side note – if you look at what Fensway Sports Group did with the Boston Red Sox in their short ownership history you might be a little less negative and a little more positive about the future of LFC. I believe we are in good hands but its seriously irritating to read ill-informed comments that spread negativity.

  12. Noah says:

    Lovely article. U have a great future at only 20. I have been loyal to every Liverpool manager since around 1984. If Dalglish and Hodgson were fired for the reasons they were and as soon as they did why not Rodgers? He has made Gerrard, Reina, Agger, Skrtel, Carroll, Kuyt, Maxi everyone look out of sorts, chopped, changed, sold and found himself with only 2 strikers. Not even Abramovich has done that. Explain that one to me, somebody. I have never felt so close to a heart attack watching LFC. Leave AVBb out of this, Andre was never even that bad. AVB is a clown but he has won a championship. He kept Chelsea in the champions league. He is poor in his judgement but he is no BR. The league table does not lie. I am a fan. I am not happy and just like everyone else we are entitled to our opinions. Guys, things are really bad. This is really embarrassing. Admit it. It’s bad.

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