Liverpool: In defence of Brendan Rodgers

The fact that football fans have short memories is well-known, but it appears that patience on the terraces is in as short a supply today as it has ever been.

Seven games into the new Premier League season and the British media are already baying for blood, with a number of managers under increasing pressure to perform at their respective clubs.

One of the men under the most strain is Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, with the Northern Irishman’s role at Anfield starting to look decidedly shaky.

Talk of the former Swansea trainer being dismissed in favour of a glamorous foreign replacement is gathering pace, with Rodgers going as far as stating that there was something of a conspiracy against him following his side’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa yesterday.

Liverpool’s short campaign so far has been filled with ups and downs; back-to-back wins over Stoke and Bournemouth being followed by a credible draw and solid performance away to Arsenal being the highlights.

However, defeat at home to West Ham and away to Manchester United, followed by a draw against Norwich, have many calling for Rodgers’ head in what seems unnecessary and completely premature.

The losses were against a side that has also beaten Arsenal and Manchester City on the road this season and against the current division leaders.

Rodgers has been at the helm since 2012 and if he was dismissed today he could certainly say that he had taken the club forward.

Brendan RodgersTaking a retrospective look at the three seasons before the Northern Irishman arrived on Merseyside should be mandatory before elements of the Anfield faithful get up in arms over the current state of affairs.

Consecutive Premier League finishes in seventh, sixth and eighth place respectively were marked by a period of questionable tactics both on the pitch and in the transfer market.

Rodgers’ crowning moment was the near miss in 2013-14, where Liverpool could and should have won the Premier League title but instead were beaten into second place by Manchester City.

There have been low points; elimination in last season’s FA Cup semi-final and seventh and sixth placed finishes in Rodgers’ reign are clearly not fitting of the ambitions of the Reds fans.

However, there is a valid argument to suggest that the former Swansea man has the hardest job in English football given the club’s history, the expectations of the fans and the quality of the teams they are expected to usurp.

On top of this, Rodgers has had to overcome three unenviable challenges in three years at the Anfield helm that no manager would want to have to contend with.

The actions of Luis Suárez in the summer of 2013 when he publicly stated that he wanted away from the Merseyside club was a period of discontent that Rodgers overcame.

His management of the tempestuous Uruguayan, getting the best from him after a move had been denied, almost heralded the Premier League title.

Rodgers was the Liverpool manager dealt the short straw in becoming club legend Steven Gerrard’s final boss at the Merseyside team, with the coach expected to come up with a contingency plan to replace the Kop icon.

Finally, the Reds boss had to coax the undoubtedly gifted but poorly advised Raheem Sterling into performing, with the eventual outcome the player’s departure – despite the countless hours Rodgers spent moulding him into the star he currently is.

Two consecutive summers of upheaval have robbed the Northern Irishman of any continuity in his playing squad, but the Liverpool manager has not been afforded the luxury of patience while his new signings settle in at the club.

Some of the coaches being mentioned as potential successors to the 42-year-old have venerable track records at the highest level, but it takes more than a big-name manager to guarantee success at a club.

As proven at other teams, namely Newcastle and with with Alan Pardew in mind, fans need to be careful what they wish for.

Liverpool may not be firing on all cylinders currently, but they shouldn’t be expected to given the substantial change in the squad over the off-season.

Rodgers has provided signs that he can deliver success if given more time, but whether he receives this under-supplied commodity remains to be seen.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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