by Chris Tobin
When Brendan Rodgers was appointed as the new manager of Liverpool Football Club in June 2012, many Liverpool supporters would find themselves with the dilemma of fully supporting his new regime, whilst on the other hand wanting to be respectful to the outgoing manager Kenny Dalglish. Something was not quite right about the fast pace at which they were asked to accept this new love, whilst the office chair was still warm from the previous incumbent.
Rodgers would come armed with a briefcase full of his Tiki-taka spread sheets intent on impressing upon his new charges and supporters, this philosophy of pass and move. Unfortunately for Rodgers many Liverpool supporters had their own knowledge of a passing game, having been educated by forefathers schooled in the science, through preceptors like Shankly, Paisley and Dalglish amongst others.
Managing Liverpool would be fraught with a danger all of its own over the previous 20 years; a public whose expectation at times has outweighed a footballing & business reality, where once Liverpool and its owners the Moore’s family would be the richest club on the high street, today they would find themselves playing second, third and fourth fiddle to cash rich Russian’s and Arabs. Liverpool’s fanatical support however has not lowered its expectation nor taken into account this new more able adversary scrapping for its own object of desire – silverware.
It is not just Brendan Rodgers who would find it difficult to compete in this new footballing market-place, where financial hindrances make it essential that young managers are far more savvy in both the transfer market and the development of the club’s own young talent. Sometimes the decline of a whole institution like Liverpool Football Club can go un-noticed until it has receded to an extent where the fix takes much longer than the decline.
The new finance that has flooded football has meant the rewriting of history and to a certain degree the consequence being the obliteration of history, other than from Liverpool’s own supporters perspective, the clubs own history is in fact used as a stick to beat it with, made to be embarrassed by its rich history, for many of its new foes, fundamentally it has become meaningless.
So what will be success for Brendan Rodgers? Liverpool supporters will only be placated with winning trophies & as much as Rodgers can be seen to improve the club or its playing staff, where this season he and they have received plaudits, criticism has also followed with accusations of a lack of fight or passion from his troops at times. If he is going to field young inexperienced sides then supporters have to expect the learning process will not be such a palatable dish at times.
The owners decision to relinquish Kenny Dalglish of the reins would also mean the club taking a massive backwards step in its five year plan, there is no doubt that this has also hindered Rodgers in terms of the type of progress that was going to be seen in one yet unfinished season, against a backdrop of two visits to Wembley last season under Dalglish, Rodgers would always be up against it whilst fans would unfairly compare that season forgetful that the club had remained without a trophy since 2006, albeit they were qualifying for the Champions League regularly during this time.
It would be naïve for fans of the club to purely look away and allow a huge reverse in its fortunes or standing, ever wary that FSG have a responsibility to the franchise they have acquired, their financial input and reinvestment of the massive financial rewards that a club like Liverpool generate, even through times of very little success on the field. It is not about dipping its fingers into the petty cash tin once in a while, it must be reinvestment and this will be the only way the club can become stable whilst turnover grows year on year like it has. If the owners have confidence in Brendan Rodgers then of course he must be backed financially and the verbal support it has so far during its stewardship been lacking must be added when required.
Has Rodgers made mistakes? For sure he has, for a young manager in his first season at one of the world’s most iconic football clubs have those mistakes taken the club backwards? Tactically at times he has been found wanting with very little in terms of a plan B. The accusation being levelled at him is one; that when we struggle to break teams down there becomes a reliance on continuing on the very tactic that has reaped little success, as arrogantly we stick to plan A, with no adaptation. To be fair to Rodgers lately we have seen a rather different approach, this coinciding with the acquisition of Daniel Sturridge.
The players have no excuse to push on in this final section of the season, there is no pressure as in effect our campaign has run out of steam, we can only assume that the possibility of a top 6 finish will be enough to spur the squad and Rodgers on. The plan for next season has to be in place and whether Rodgers is a success as Liverpool manager cannot be decided at the conclusion of this season, rather in the next two.
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