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Rodgers’ malaise similar to that of Villas-Boas’ Spurs sacking

Brendan Rodgers

Watching Brendan Rodgers this season for Liverpool echoes chimes of another dearly departed Premier League manager who promised more than he could ever deliver to a hungry supporters base, and this might not be a comparison Liverpudlians will want to see: this feels like Andre Villas-Boas’ second season with Spurs.

After another dour, drab and frankly embarrassing tussle with lower league opposition in Anfield’s purview, certainly the brand of soccer has crossed the red line? When Rodgers arrived at Anfield in 2012, he promised “death by football”. Three years on, he’s brought it, but in the exact opposite way he’s intended. Deluded Brendan couldn’t have dreamt up a statement like that.

With a surplus of attacking talent, talented players who were major hits elsewhere and a slightly renewed sense of optimism after Liverpool’s smashing 2013-14 season, there should have been a headlong charge to improve and consolidate their position among England’s elite. Even after selling two talismanic players in back-to-back summers, Liverpool should have been able to restock the cupboard many times over. Instead, the cupboard is filled with cobwebs and hope of what could have been.

Liverpool haven’t looked likely to score almost at all this season. Rather, they look hopeful, yearning and praying that someone will provide a moment of magic, a bolt of inspiration, instead of expecting it. “It’s just going to be a matter of time until they can get the results to be rewarded,” Rodgers said pre-match. Does that sound like a man that believes his team can save him, let alone believe in him?

When Andre Villas-Boas was on his last legs with Spurs two years ago, the quotes almost seem like they were copied verbatim. From claiming after Spurs drew United at White Hart Lane that there was an “agenda” against them, while also claiming finishing was the reason for their chronic lack of goals, to right before he was sacked saying that Spurs “were not far off” from success after being thrashed 5-0 at home to Rodgers’ Liverpool, Villas-Boas seemed like a defeated man trying to scrape to whatever little grip he had left before he fell off the cliff.

This season’s Liverpool squad seems to be scratching and clawing for what little grip they can find. Scoring only one against League Two Northampton Town and never nearly looking comfortable is criminal enough, but when it’s compared with Liverpool’s league and European performances nothing has changed. They lack for ideas, shape and mentality when the going gets rough, and there’s no faith that anyone in the squad can provide anything other than a random bolt from the sky as Christian Benteke did at Old Trafford.

Villas-Boas’ Spurs looked almost identical when their spiral downwards was accelerating with no brake in sight. And in a cruel, yet ironic twist, this is what Rodgers had to say after Villas-Boas was sacked at the hands of his Liverpool juggernaut:

“They are a great club and one of the things I looked at was the history. They’d had 11 managers in 18 years there so for someone like myself, I needed to create something.

I needed to go to a club that was going to give us that opportunity. I am more than happy with the choice I made to come here and hopefully in time it will prove to be the right one.”

With the chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” ringing through the ears of Anfield, his quotes from when he was the pick of the litter almost condemns him completely at his lowest point.

At his highest point, Brendan Rodgers was the apple of everyone’s eye, and looked like the man who could take Liverpool back to their storied and splendid heights.

At his lowest ebb, Rodgers looks almost identical to the manager he blasted on his way out the door after he pushed him over the edge.

The negative soccer, the signings played out of position or not at all, and the complete lack of verve, enthusiasm or energy.

Could we be describing the end of Villas-Boas’ Spurs, Rodgers’ Liverpool, or both?

You decide.


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  1. Harry

    September 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Any comparison to Ferguson is way off the mark. For one, Ferguson had won trophies (plural) before he joined United. It was easier back then to build a team over many years. In the modern age that is no longer possible. Just when some of your players come good a bigger club will prise them away unless you are in the Champions League or have won trophies.

    AVB didn’t have as much time nor was he backed as much for transfers as Rodgers has with Liverpool. Despite the poor end to last season Liverpool’s owners stuck with Rodgers and gave him and the transfer committee money for new recruits. It hasn’t worked. One of the questions that need asking is why do so many players fare worse after joining Liverpool when they were better at their previous clubs and why do so many players do better after they leave Liverpool. I mean during the Rodgers era. That Rodgers is still in charge while AVB was quickly dismissed is the biggest mystery. Do Liverpool’s owners know what they’re doing?

  2. Rob Simmonds

    September 24, 2015 at 2:48 am

    The press will always be on managers backs. It takes time for new player s to gel together unfortunately patients is a sad thing lacking in foothall today. I have been a fan of Liverpool for several years now and yes like any fan I get upset when they lose. People have short memories Sir Alex Ferguson had a bad start to his managerial carèer at Manchester United but look how he finished up with his playyers.

    • brn442

      September 24, 2015 at 11:06 am

      @Rob, fair points. The difference with Sir Ferguson is that the club steadily improved under his reign – granted, he was one cup final win from probably being sacked after giving the league to Leeds.

      Most fans see in Liverpool a team without any identity. 4 years, 30 players, 300 million and a manager who does not seem to know who/what his best players or tactics are.

      His philosophy of up-tempo passing and pressing seems to have gone out the window. Is it smart to sack a manager 7 matches in, after a summer spending spree? No – but Rogers can’t say he hasn’t had a fair shot.

    • yespage

      September 24, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Liverpool feel like they’ve been running in neutral for several years now, with the exception of the Suarez years. And while it does take time for a team to gel, Liverpool didn’t gel last season and the tactics didn’t much work. So Rodgers goes out, spends a lot more money and once again, we need to wait for gelling, which isn’t appearing to happen.

      I look at Stoke who has a worse record, but see improvement and potential, top half finish well within reach, maybe a run at a cup. With Liverpool, I feel like it is wait till next year.

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