Where Next for Rodgers And His Ego?

Posted: October 7, 2015 in Football
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Brendan Rodgers

Alas, it finally happened, as the Liverpool axe finally swung on Brendan Rodgers, with his tenure in charge at Anfield coming to an end after months of speculation.

It was of no big surprise to many as he was reportedly given until this forthcoming international break to prove to the higher-ups that he was the right man for the job, having endured a difficult start to the season after another summer of heavy spending.

The front runners for the vacancy on Merseyside have proven somewhat predictable, with Jurgen Klopp looking almost certain to take over within the coming days, with Carlo Ancelotti having also been a favourite, if only as an alternative.

But while the speculation around his successor continues to swirl around the media gossip columns, what is next for Brendan Rodgers?

It’s always a difficult question to pose when any manager leaves a top job through no choice of his own, with that apparent failure in his role suddenly making him an unattractive option to other clubs of the same ilk.

But given Rodgers extreme self-confidence/arrogance (delete as applicable to you, dear reader), we find ourselves in that pickle in that he would perhaps not be too keen on taking a lesser job, as he is of the firm belief that he is more than capable of taking charge of a title challenger.

One only has to go back a couple of weeks for evidence of this, with Rodgers refuting claims of the sack by claiming he is “the same man who nearly won us (Liverpool) the title, but better.” These are not the words of a man prepared to spend his time headbutting the glass ceiling in the middle of the Premier League table.

Gerrard Slip

Did this widely ridiculed incident prove a turning point in Rodgers’ managerial career?

Rodgers does have that point regarding his ability as a manager, in that he was but a Steven Gerrard slip and a hashed performance at Crystal Palace from clinching Liverpool’s first league title since the dawning of the Premier League era. He built a thrilling side that possessed some of the world’s finest players going forward, playing some scintillating football before being pipped to top spot by Manchester City.

But his detractors will merely point to that season being the anomaly to his time at Anfield, with his other two completed seasons seeing him record eighth and sixth placed finishes, with his start to the new campaign seeing the Reds well down in mid-table, indicating more of the same before his dismissal.

That second placed finish was not met with anything resembling consistency, with the loss of Luis Suarez proving more than Rodgers was capable of dealing with, given his persistently poor success record in the transfer market.

Having already mocked Spurs for blowing their Gareth Bale money the previous summer, Rodgers spent over £110million on new players, with possibly only Emre Can emerging from the 2014/15 season with any credit. Mainly for the fact he was played out of position frequently.

The likes of Lazar Markovic flopped badly given the £20m price paid to Benfica, so much so that he has been loaned out to Fenerbahce, with Rodgers already seeming to have given up hope of turning that around. Neither Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert or Dejan Lovren looked comfortable in making the step ‘up’ from Southampton, proving another £50m poorly spent.

And even the most one-eyed of Liverpool fans could not fathom the logic behind recruiting Mario Balotelli to lead the line for the Reds. Much of Liverpool’s success in the 2013/14 season came from pressing high up the pitch, with the strikers expected to do just as much work as the midfielders; an expectation of Balotelli that seemed just ludicrous.

Mario Balotelli Liverpool

Who seriously expected this to work out well?

Having understandably lost one key player to the clutches of mega-power Barcelona, Rodgers could have been given some leeway for lowering expectations, but his subsequent splurging of the income on players not fit to improve the side and failure to keep on board his other star players has damaged his reputation.

Failure to deal well with the ego of Raheem Sterling, before reaching an untenable situation that required him to be sold, plus failure to manage the injury-prone Daniel Sturridge by constantly rushing him back help fix the mess unfolding at Anfield – these are things that won’t be looked upon favourably by clubs with high aspirations, with aims of being in the title hunt.

However, while he can be forgiven for not being interested in the mess that is Sunderland, Rodgers firmly believes he should still be managing a side in the top echelon of the division, with no requirement to drop down a level to rebuild his reputation.

Should he really be turning his nose up at the likes of Aston Villa or Newcastle (with both having very precarious looking managers currently), two huge clubs historically with a massive fan base and the potential to be better than they are currently faring?

These might prove better jobs for him to prove how great a coach he thinks he is, instead of the parody he became during the latter spells of his Liverpool tenure.

Rodgers-Brent

The Rodgers/Brent comparisons were frequently used to mock the Liverpool manager

Guillem Balague has mooted that a move to Spain might be an option for Rodgers, in the same way that David Moyes has tried to restore his credibility abroad with Real Sociedad.

In a way, that might be a good thing for him, taking himself out of the British media glare and purely focussing on actual management, instead of reliving his David Brent fantasies in front of a camera. Focussing on tactics and the art of defending, instead of stewing over what quasi-philosophical quote to relay the next time a microphone is pushed in front of his face.

This is something that has worked in the favour of Steve McLaren as well, but Rodgers must accept the top jobs will not come easily in Spain either. Italy and Germany are frequently reluctant to give the top jobs to people unproven in either their own country or in Europe completely; and it’s not as though the Northern Irishman boasts a CV littered with winners medals.

With his only real success as a manager having been maintaining the upward spiral Swansea were already on before the departure of Roberto Martinez, appointing Rodgers from here-on actually proves a major risk for any club with any ambition.

Hopefully time away from the media glare of Anfield gives Rodgers time to reflect upon his own ego and realise how little justification he has for such a high opinion of himself.

Realism is now required from the now ex-Liverpool boss, if he is to ever find another job that fits both his and the club’s needs.

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