The pressure had been mounting for a while but the hammer has finally come down for Brendan Rodgers as he has been fired as the manager of Liverpool following their 1-1 draw with Everton. The firing is not all that surprising given that the rumors of his demise had been circling around but it was only a matter of when he would be dismissed. Management was given the perfect excuse after the team’s most recent draw at the Merseyside derby where the team, as usual, looked dominant at times and not much better than a Football League One Championship side when Everton took the game to them.
While the team didn’t really make life easy for Rodgers in that they sold two of his best players, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling to bigger, richer clubs in consecutive seasons, he often replaced those players with expensive signings who haven’t panned out at all. From local Premier League talent such as Adam Lallana and Christian Benteke to more foreign signings like Roberto Firmino and Alberto Moreno, the players are often very inconsistent and they are usually deployed in positions that do not take full advantage of their talents.
Rodgers’ willingness to try different formations in order to find the one that got his team to play well worked occasionally but that usually also led to communication problems in that players were confused as to where they should be going when the team would be on the attack. When it would work, the tinkering would make Rodgers seem like a tactical genius but when it failed, it made him out to be a manager who couldn’t figure out how to mix his players’ skill together.
His stubbornness was another large factor as to why having him as a manager was so frustrating. He refused to acknowledge the fact that Mamadou Sakho is a much better defender than Dejan Lovren and that led to Sakho only starting matches when Lovren was injured, which has fortunately been more often than not. He also never seemed to take anything away from matches where Liverpool struggled, he would always say the same thing over and over again to the media.
While that may be a way for him to shield players from unnecessary questions from reporters, it also made it seem as if he was fine with every single loss or draw the team had during his time at the top.
Even if he struggled to utilize a few players correctly, he also improved the skill of a couple of young talent significantly. Star players such as Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge all improved tremendously after Rodgers was brought in and they probably would not be as good as they are now if they had another manager at the helm. One cannot also forget that he was the manager who brought the team closest to a Premier League trophy since Rafa Benitez all those years ago.
The style of play that the 2013-2014 Liverpool squad had was exciting and dynamic and it really brought back memories of the dominant Liverpool teams of years past back to Anfield. The SAS duo of Suarez and Sturrigde took the league by storm and the trophy probably would have gone to Liverpool if it were not for the infamous slip.
All in all, the firing is probably the right move for all parties involved, Rodgers is finally able to relax without the pressures of managing a team that has high expectations and the club can search for a new manager who will hopefully stay for a long time. It was fun while it lasted but for the past two seasons, the negatives have truly outweighed the positives.