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28th Apr 2015

Rodgers deserves another season to correct his failings

Matt Stanger

It is difficult not to feel sympathy for Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool’s disappointing season reaches its conclusion.

A year ago he was on the brink of leading the Reds to their first title in 24 years only to fall at the final hurdle.

Now, after losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Daniel Sturridge to injury and Mario Balotelli to unwanted headlines, Rodgers’ future is being debated with relish. Football’s fickle nature should come as a surprise to no-one.

Of course, in some respects Rodgers has only himself to blame. He has talked up the ability of himself and his team without delivering, making a number of questionable decisions throughout the campaign.

Signing Balotelli as Suarez’s replacement and then admitting it was a gamble was always unlikely to bring the best out of the striker, with Rodgers’ handling of the situation hinting at a self-preservation unsuited to his remit. Repeatedly absolving oneself of blame can often have the opposite effect.


The manager’s dealings in the transfer market have supplied most of the ammunition for his critics. £212m spent with only two obvious successes is the tired appraisal, but that argument belies much of the reality to Liverpool’s strategy.

It is too easy to forget Rodgers’ need to defer to a bust transfer committee, while Alan Shearer’s recent claim that Liverpool should have signed better quality last summer ignored the fact that they tried to recruit Alexis Sanchez before the Chilean chose Arsenal.

Without offering consistent top-four finishes, the highest wages and, in some cases, an extravagant London lifestyle, Liverpool simply cannot compete with their four biggest rivals.


Without doubt, it has been Rodgers’ toughest season to date. But he is right to remain defiant after leading the Reds to two domestic cup semi-finals and making Manchester United sweat with a 13-match unbeaten run that yielded ten wins between December and March.

“Three months ago I was a tactical genius, performing to a good level,” he said last week. “We lost some important games and now I’m not so good. That’s football, people will speculate.”

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

Despite the sneering on social media, Rodgers is right. He has been painted as a genius on so many occasions throughout his reign that it is too late now to clean the canvas.

For two consecutive seasons he altered his team’s tactics mid-campaign to instigate significant improvement in performances. Not many coaches can claim that achievement.

The past 12 months have brought disappointment to expectant Liverpool supporters, but Rodgers should retain their faith for the foreseeable future. He has made mistakes, but he has also earned the right to try and correct his failings.