BRENDAN RODGERS IS GONE and we all need to move on.
We’ll get into the specifics about how and why he’s no longer with Liverpool, but this opening statement is one of the most important things a Reds fan can do at the moment. Moving on is important.
Some Reds fans have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the removal of Rodgers from the position of manager at Liverpool. The “Rodgers OUT” crowd (Liverpool fans who wanted Brendan Rodgers fired from since way before it actually happened) were very big in numbers, but they did not make up 100% of all Liverpool fans. There were some who didn’t want to Rodgers lose his job and now, you’re all so very upset about the fact that it happened. Some of you look like you’re close to tears. What I find hard to understand is WHY.
WHY are you so upset? This manager did not deliver a single trophy in his entire time (over 3 seasons from 2012 to 2015). I wanted to cry when Rafa Benitez left, because he brought us our 5th European Cup. I wanted to cry when Dalglish left, because he brought us the league cup and almost won the FA Cup (AKA a “double”) in a very short amount of time. I HONESTLY DON’T WANT TO CRY about Brendan Rodgers being sacked! I’m barely upset at all. At the very most, I appreciated that he brought some high quality signings into the club, players that I have enjoyed watching very much.
So yeah, thanks for making some very good player transfers happen while you were here…. but I CAN’T thank him for winning any trophies because he didn’t do it, ever. “THANKS FOR NOT WINNING A SINGLE TROPHY IN 3 SEASONS” just doesn’t sound right, does it?
I honestly see his list of player transfers (IN to the club) as his biggest achievement, bigger than winning a few matches here and there and before you say it – yes, even bigger than the season when Liverpool came 2nd in the Premier League under his management. I actually don’t recognise that as Brendan’s achievement at all – I see it as the players achievements, and he was just the guy who was lucky enough to have Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in his squad, scoring 51 goals between them.
It’s not exactly hard to be the person who has to decide if you want to pick that player who scored a hat trick for your next game or not… that’s a no-brainer. Any manager could have chosen Suarez and Sturridge for the starting 11 in that season. It’s not “genius by Rodgers” that he was picking these successful players who knew how to score goals and win games almost by themselves.
Rodgers didn’t even sign Luis Suarez, that transfer had been made by Kenny Dalglish before his departure. Brendan Rodgers would never even have had Suarez in his squad if it wasn’t for King Kenny buying the Uruguayan. So when you try to say “Rodgers took us to 2nd place in the Premier League”, I just can’t accept it. It wasn’t Rodgers doing that. Ultimately, the two players who were scoring the majority of our goals that season deserve almost all of the credit (the rest of the credit going to our captain Steven Gerrard for being our inspirational leader and the other players who were a part of the regular starting 11 for that season) for just being good enough to win games for us and help us achieve a respectable place in the league table.
So as I said earlier and with the fact that I will never attribute our 2nd place league table finish to the manager in mind, maybe now you can understand how I see that Rodgers biggest achievements have simply been the players he signed for Liverpool.
The fact that Brendan hadn’t won any trophies wasn’t his only mistake, either. There’s plenty more reasons for why I am so very unaffected and not upset at the departure of Brendan Rodgers and I intend to list them all, because people just need to know that I’m not just hating on Brendan for nothing or personal reasons. I truly believe he made so many mistakes that his removal from the position of club manager at Liverpool was DESERVED, he only has himself to blame. By the time you’ve read all these reasons, you’ll surely see that I am right and that we are correct to be replacing Rodgers with somebody else right now.
This next reason might just make me cry, but I’ll try my best to stay strong as I discuss it for you.
Multiple players including Daniel Agger, Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini, Jose Enrique, Pepe Reina, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard have listed “irreconcilable differences with the manager” as at least one of their reasons for leaving Liverpool FC. I’m going to go into detail about this with a player by player rundown of how Brendan Rodgers affected their departure from the club.
This guy was one of the best defenders we’ve had in the last decade, or at least the most loyal. Daniel had “YNWA” and other Liverpool FC related markings tattooed permanently onto his body. Nobody could question his love and loyalty for the club and he was likely to stay at Liverpool for as long as the manager would play him… and there lay the big problem of why he left.
Brendan Rodgers didn’t like using Agger much, in fact once Rodgers had acquired enough new signings in defence he had started to “edge out” Agger from the starting 11, using him less and less and all Brendan would have to do is say something like “we want to utilise our newest transfers” and that would justify his exclusion of Agger, in his opinion. Not that the fans were ever happy about that exclusion, we all loved Agger and wanted to watch him play. I can’t remember hearing any Red who’d say that they preferred someone else over Agger in defence, he was much loved by almost all of our fans. It was often Mamadou Sakho who got picked over Agger for a position in central defence and I started off disliking Sakho for this reason. I felt like he was “replacing” Agger but who I really should have been mad at was not Sakho but Brendan Rodgers. For the record, I now very much enjoy watching Sakho play for Liverpool.
After a time, in addition to not being picked over new players injury struck Agger and he was simply unable to play due to having to recover again, but even when he was back to full fitness after the injury had gone away, Rodgers did not start to instantly pick Agger again. It was his last days for us at the club by then – there would be no “comeback” for him. Eventually, Agger would be so out of use that the manager could safely say “he’s not a key player” and that would justify the sale of him to another club. But very few fans wanted that transfer to happen, it was a very selfish move over what Rodgers wanted rather than what the fans wanted.
Rickie Lambert & Fabio Borini
Rickie Lambert was born in Kirkby, Liverpool and it had been a lifelong ambition for Rickie to play for Liverpool FC, though he hadn’t done so since the days when he was a “youth player”. Rodgers would transfer him to Liverpool only to walk all over his dreams as he barely ever used him, keeping Lambert on the substitute bench mostly. Not exactly what Rickie always dreamed of – he’d have wanted to be a regular first team player in the starting 11.
Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini were signed around the same time and for almost the same reason – we wanted more firepower in the role of “strikers” shortly after Luis Suarez had left for Barcelona. We also did have Mario Balotelli and he would usually be picked over Lambert and Borini.
It was obvious that we didn’t have anyone to score over 30 goals a season any more, but then Rodgers simply wasn’t using his strikers correctly in my opinion. His misuse of players was something which led to the departure of three strikers. He’d clearly only considered Lambert and Borini as “super subs” at best and Rodgers did not at any point make an effort to incorporate these two into the starting 11 and see if they had anything else to offer other than playing for the last quarter to half an hour of the second half.
At the times when they were used (as substitute for league games or cup games occasionally), we actually got to see some high quality football. I desperately wanted Rodgers to make regular use of them because I KNEW they were good. Better than the manager would give them credit for.
It annoyed me and other fans to see these players not being given real chances to prove themselves at the highest level. Mario Balotelli had been “under-performing” in many games (basically barely ever scoring) but was picked for almost every starting 11 since the major injury of Daniel Sturridge which would keep him out for months on end. Had Rodgers tried to use Lambert and Borini in a 4-4-2 formation from the start of any game it may have been a real revelation that they had more to offer than just being brought off the substitute bench when Balotelli was tired after 60 minutes.
It just never happened and now Lambert has been sold to West Bromwich Albion and Borini has been sold to Sunderland. Rodgers must have been rubbing his hands together as these “substitutes” of his were transferred to make the club millions of pounds which he definitely would have preferred having over being “forced to include them in the squad”. Fans like me just wanted to see them playing for Liverpool regularly but Rodgers never fully gave them their chance to do so and now they’re gone.
I’ve spoken briefly about Mario’s involvement with the rotation of strikers chosen by the manager but there’s more to this player’s story to say.
Many fans consider Balotelli to have “under-performed” since he was brought to the club by Brendan Rodgers, but I say his failings weren’t all down to Mario. Rodgers did misuse players and often used formations like 4-5-1 which left Mario all alone as the 1 striker that did not have a partner alongside him. It was EASY for opposition to mark our sole striker. WHO are our midfielders going to cross the ball to? Well, DUH – the striker! “Mark Mario” would be the only order a manager would have to give to his defenders and we’d be likely not to score in a game because it was obvious who we would have expected to be scoring our goals. Mario is also a “team player” – he works best when alongside at least 1 other striking partner in a 4-4-2 formation. Having Rodgers keep 4-5-1 over and over just made things worse for Mario.
People would love to point the finger of blame at Balotelli (and WHY ALWAYS HIM?) but I know that he could have achieved better at Liverpool if he had only been used properly, in the right style of play that suited him best and since Rodgers started to refuse using him any more from the start of this season (he didn’t even take him on the 2015 international pre-season tour, Mario was left behind), Balotelli chose to accept a loan offer from AC Milan and now is currently playing his football back in his home country, Italy. Had Rodgers started to include him in all the 2015 friendlies and giving Mario the signals that he was about to get a “second chance” (and a second season) at Liverpool, it’s highly unlikely that he’d be in Milan right now instead of Liverpool. Even with Rodgers gone from our club, Mario still can’t be used any more until the end of his loan period and he clearly stated in the press that “Rodgers is why I’m going to leave the country” (even if it is a temporary move for now).
What a mess! It could have been so much better for Mario and his fans and I hope perhaps he’ll get to stay at Liverpool under new management that will use him properly, to the best of his abilities in the correct style of play and formation. If that happens… you’ll see a better and improved Mario Balotelli playing for Liverpool, I guarantee this to you. He’s better than his critics give him credit for.
Jose Enrique and Pepe Reina
Rafa Benitez left behind a few Spanish players in our squad. Reina and Enrique were some of them.
Brendan Rodgers made it quite clear from the moment he arrived that he did not want to use some of the previous Liverpool manager’s players. This was shown as he “edged out” both Jose Enrique as first choice left back (new left backs were signed to the club under Rodgers) and Pepe Reina as first choice goalkeeper and Brendan repeatedly chose Simon Mignolet from the moment the new transfer arrived at the club.
It got to the point where everybody could see that Enrique’s part in the squad would be substitute defender or worse (not used in the squad at all) and that Reina was never going to be chosen ever again as Liverpool’s goalkeeper and his time was up with our club because of Brendan Rodgers taking over.
Reina eventually joined Rafa Benitez once more at Napoli where they won the “Copa Italia” together and later, he agreed to join Bayern Munich (Xabi Alonso was there too and I think he’d have wanted to be with a Spanish friend) but had Rodgers just chosen to keep playing Reina, there would have been no need for that loan or that transfer to ever happen. This was all Rodger’s fault. We lost a quality goalkeeper. I’m a fan of Simon Mignolet, but Reina always had a special place in my heart and I was very sad to see him leave the club. Jose Enrique too, just hasn’t been played nearly enough since the arrival of Rodgers who didn’t want to use him. It made me sad. No… Rodgers made me sad.
Raheem Sterling was a very good player, for his age. By the end of his time with Liverpool, he had grown rather greedy and his departure was largely financially related. Sure you could say “he left for the money” but Rodgers did play his part in the transfer of this player.
Put simply, Sterling had asked for more than £100,000 per week to keep playing for Liverpool and he was being refused it on multiple occasions. Rodgers had even done things like excluding Sterling from the first team to make an example of him in the way that “we play for the football and for the honor, not for the money”… Raheem was supposed to learn a lesson from being left out of the side due to his demands over what he should be paid to play, but clearly did not. Rodgers would just have been part of the club that was refusing to give into his demands to Sterling as he kept insisting that he was the best player in England and should be paid accordingly. If anything, Rodgers helped drive Raheem away from our club, making more problems with the player than helping.
By the time Manchester City came in with a bid of £50M, Sterling was ready to say goodbye to the manager he disliked (Brendan Rodgers) and go onto the club that would pay him a very large amount of money, more than Liverpool ever offered him to play his football.
I’m almost done now, but I saved the most heartbreaking for last.
Our beloved Captain Fantastic made it clear upon his departure from Liverpool FC after over two decades with the club that one of the reasons he was leaving to transfer out to Los Angeles Galaxy was that he had major issues with Brendan Rodgers. Steven was not very outspoken about his feelings over the manager at the time the problems were happening (so as to not stir up trouble), but by the time the public knew that Gerrard had made a decision to transfer clubs people wanted to know “WHY?” and only then it was revealed that his reasons were exactly what I am informing you of now… that Rodgers played his part in driving away one of the all time most loved footballers at Liverpool FC.
THIS IS QUITE UNFORGIVEABLE and there are many heartbroken Reds fans all over the world who would have rather Stevie G stayed at the club than went away to the MLS. Had we sacked Rodgers earlier, perhaps Steven would have made the decision to stay at Liverpool and give the new manager a chance to make things right at the club.
WITH ALL THIS HAPPENING, is it so confusing to anybody who has been getting all upset over the departure of Brendan Rodgers as to why I’m not even that upset at the manager being fired? Surely not. I’ve made it very clear. I backed and supported the Liverpool manager for three seasons but after all these mistakes and still no trophies won by him for me to say “oh well, it was worth having him to win the silverware” about then I had well and truly lost my patience and trust with Rodgers.
Trust is earned then kept… If Rodgers ever earned my trust (which he did for a while), he did not keep it. There was a limit to any Reds fan’s patience with an unsuccessful manager and the owners (FSG) know when it’s time to find a replacement. I support their decision to do this and believe they have acted in the best interests of the club and look forward to the future with a manager that can bring more success than Rodgers ever did.
I want to move on. I want to put the Rodgers era behind us and make sure Liverpool and our fans are thinking about what happens next. I’ve probably said enough about this now, but more news on who Liverpool choose to be our next manager will get plenty more words on another day.
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE, ANFIELD FAMILY!
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.