Brendan Rodgers a victim of his own success at Liverpool
The Liverpool manager was always going to struggle to recreate their spring 2014 form after Luis Suarez left
Brendan Rodgers should be remembered fondly by Liverpool supporters, even if his departure comes as welcome relief after the Reds’s recent regression.
The Liverpool owners ended Rodgers’s three-and-a-half year reign on Sunday following a 1—1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby.
Jurgen Klopp is now the name pursed on most Liverpool fans’ lips and imaginations are running wild at the potential impact the charismatic German could have.
If the former Borussia Dortmund manager does succeed Rodgers in the Anfield role, Klopp will do well to have the Reds challenging inside 18 months.
This was Rodgers’ greatest feat during his spell in charge of the club, and it easy to forget the 43-year-old has brought Liverpool closer to their first Premier League title than Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier, Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish.
Liverpool’s belated title charge from late February 2014 was something special, it sparked bedlam amongst Reds fans deprived of silverware as well as most Premier League supporters.
Watching Luis Suarez and co effortlessly dismantle rivals such as Everton, Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs in landslide victories was spectacular.
A top-four finish looked a realistic target for Rodgers in his second season at the Merseyside outfit, but getting one hand on the Premier League trophy inevitably served to ramp up expectations. And although Liverpool finished as runners-up, it was that success that sealed Rodgers’s fate.
Suarez’s sale was a huge blow and the Northern Irishman spent the recouped funds poorly. A slow start to the season heaped pressure on a manager who had a months before been compared with Liverpool greats like Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley by some supporters.
But Liverpool of spring 2014 was as good as it got for Rodgers. He temporarily steered Liverpool back on track after a defeat at Old Trafford last December, but Manchester United punctured the resurgent Reds’s spirit in March and their season ended in whimper.
It is a surprise Rodgers has lasted until October given their lacklustre start to the current campaign.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher spoke some truths on Sky Sports after news of Rodgers’s sacking broke, likening the Reds to Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool think they’re a big club but the top four don’t consider them a real threat, was the ex-defender’s key message.
But although references to their glorious past always infuriates Premier League fans, Liverpool’s history is an asset. It has helped tempt big names to the club over the past decade. But how much longer will a heaving trophy cabinet hold any sway over an era of players who grew up when United dominated the English landscape?
The decision to sack Rodgers was a correct one. The timing is right: Liverpool are three points behind the top four and the situation is manageable and the international break provides a welcome chance to inhale and make a sensible but swift choice.
If Fenway Sports Group decide Klopp is the right man to lead the Reds forward then it would be an exciting appointment, and the German can restore the club’s identity which has been lost after fielding a weakened starting XI at Real Madrid or a 6-1 humiliation at Stoke City.
But the two-time Bundesliga winner will be inheriting a top-six side, and as Rodgers found out, consistently making the leap into the top four is very, very tough.