So Brendan Rodgers has gone. No more vines, no more memes and no more character. It was sad news for all social media addicts as the curtain came down on the Northern Irishman’s three years at Liverpool, but the question must be asked why this dragged on so long?
The decision to sack the manager at Liverpool Football Club is always a big one, but to do it two months into a season after handing him a wedge of cash to spend in the summer seems a little naïve.
It was clear that the Fenway Sports Group were not happy with Rodgers’ performance last season. It was glaringly obvious when they removed his backroom staff ahead of this term. That is when he should have gone, not after a summer of expensive recruitment.
The only reason for not letting him go before the new campaign kicked off has to be that nagging memory in the back of their minds of how close he brought Liverpool to being crowned Champions of England, something they crave more than anything else. Rodgers was basically a Steven Gerrard slip away from being a Reds legend, instead he has left as something of a joke.
That season two years ago was incredible. It was the perfect storm. Everything went right for the Merseyside club, until the very end of course. Luis Suarez was at the peak of his powers, Raheem Sterling was a hungry youngster with no outside influences, Daniel Sturridge was fit and Steven Gerrard was enjoying his Indian summer in a Liverpool shirt.
That is not to say Rodgers was not a part of that. He was vital in reinvigorating the way the team played. His approach to incisive possession football paired with the tenacity of his attacking options worked perfectly and teams couldn’t handle the high pressing game that he implemented throughout the season. However, they had to win the league that year, and ever since that infamous game against Chelsea Rodgers’ card was marked.
The loss of Suarez would have been difficult for any team to cope with, pair that with the injuries to Sturridge and Sterling’s desire to wreak havoc, and it all just got a bit much for Rodgers. The job was too big.
It has to be remembered that prior to taking over at Anfield he had managed at Watford, Reading and Swansea. With all due respect to those clubs, the size of those jobs combined does not even get close to the scale of the task of leading Liverpool Football Club. He had his bedding in season, where he implemented his style of play on the players and then in 2013 it all clicked. No one saw it coming, including Rodgers, but the Reds were suddenly a force to be reckoned with.
Once Rodgers had scaled those heights he was always going to be judged against that season, in some respects he was a victim of his own success. How crucial he was in that success is up for debate.
As soon as Suarez left, Sterling started playing up and Gerrard was past his best, the sheer scale of the task at hand was too much for a man with relatively little managerial experience at the top level.
He didn’t have the authority to completely drop the club’s greatest ever player (it’s difficult to imagine anyone who would), his name did not attract big names to the club and, as right or wrong as this may be, you always got the feeling that he was not totally respected by some of the players.
Brendan Rodgers did teach Liverpool to dream again. He brought something resembling the good times back to Anfield. It’s difficult to remember a manager who tapped into the psyche of the city so well, he made many Liverpool supporters fall in love with football again, and for that he must be fondly remembered on Merseyside
Ultimately, it all got the better of Rodgers, he became something of a parody of himself but the finger should be pointed at the boardroom, not the dugout.