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Untouchable Brendan Rodgers : The Luckiest Man In Football

Time and the indulgence of a benevolent benefactor are two luxuries that most managers are very rarely afforded in the hurly burly world of modern football. The managerial bullet seems to be fired at hapless coaches on an increasingly regular basis, with incumbents being sacked almost at will by club owners, most of whom have unrealistic expectations for their teams.

There are exceptions to every rule. Arsenal’s perseverance with Arsene Wenger is admirable, the club have stuck by him through some relatively thin times, despite vociferous calls for his head from some sections of their support.

The membership of this elite club of Untouchable Managers now seems to have grown by one with the inclusion of Brendan Rodgers. It seems that Liverpool’s owners are oblivious to the growing demands for him to be removed from what should be the best job in football – managing Liverpool FC. Either that, or they have a misguided belief in his ability to rescue a rapidly deteriorating season. Today’s defeat against Newcastle United was neither unexpected nor ideal preparation for the two forthcoming games against Real Madrid and Chelsea.

There is a growing predictability about Liverpool’s current performances. Teams defend deep against them and wait to hit them on the counter attack. Liverpool’s feckless attacking talent fails to breach the opposition. Their opponents win the ball, go to the other end and then one of two things happens. They either win a free-kick or corner that Liverpool defend badly and concede a goal. Or as today’s game against Newcastle showed, there is no need for a corner or free kick, as a woeful piece of defending will hand an opposing striker a gilt-edged opportunity to win the game.

What is increasingly annoying is the predictability of Brendan Rodgers post-match comments which detail how “disappointed” he is. How hard the players will work on the training ground to put things right. Or, how the team had good possession, but didn’t do enough to win the game. Surely as a coach, he can see where the problems lie: poor dealings in the transfer market, a failure to motivate the players and very little in the way of tactical know-how or the ability to change games when they are not going according to plan.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is a man who has been given in excess of £200 million to spend on players since his arrival at Anfield. He has brought in 20 players on permanent transfers in just over two years at the helm, whilst he has overseen the sale of 25 players in the same period. In addition, there have been countless loan deals into and out of the club, including some of the players that Rodgers has signed during his tenure. Such a high turnover of playing personnel hardly leads to a settled squad, and the results this season tell an eloquent, if depressing story. Rodgers may have generated in excess of £100 million in transfer fees, but most of that money came from the sale of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll.

Brendan Rodgers’ transfer dealings seem to have been geared towards creating a golden generation of talented young players who will carry all before them. The harsh reality is results, and most importantly performances, have shown that Liverpool’s transfer activity has left the squad imbalanced, without heart or passion, and a total lack of resourcefulness on the pitch. Invariably, Brendan Rodgers sets up his team in a 4-3-3 formation that is neither fluid enough to break down packed defences, nor industrious enough to protect a beleaguered and at times clueless defence. If there is a plan B, it usually involves bringing Rickie Lambert off the bench to try and force a goal. That has yet to show any signs of success. If there is a Plan C, then it is one of the best kept secrets in football.

Liverpool’s fans could barely contain their excitement at the start of the season following the cavalier football last term that almost captured a first league title since 1990. The sale of Luis Suarez was a blow, but one that we were reassured would be absorbed as the club built a squad to compete in all competitions. The difference in performance levels and results could hardly have been more dramatic. Brendan Rodgers seems to have taken his eye off what the fans and club require in order to follow a grand design in team building; one that seems to have been created from his own increasingly bizarre vision of how Liverpool FC should play and the type of player required to achieve success.

A growing number of fans are beginning to wonder what has gone wrong with the club, but surely the time must also be fast approaching when the board question what £200 million in transfer fees, plus the outlay to purchase the club has brought them. The answer at the moment is NOTHING AT ALL. If the board continue to show faith in Rodgers’ open door policy towards team building, then he is truly the luckiest man in football. Rodgers, and the “Transfer Committee” that overseas player purchasing  must be held accountable for the negligent way in which they have left Liverpool with such an ineffective and clueless playing squad. If change are not made soon, then the fluent, fabulous football of 2013/14 season will be seen as nothing more than a pleasant blip during an unrelenting period of ongoing mediocrity.

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