We are floundering in the Premier League in our worst start in living memory, and Brendan’s philosophy is either taking too long to implement or not working.
Brendan, unlike Kenny before him, likes the media and the attention it brings. He’s articulate, doesn’t get too flustered, and talks more like an MBA graduate than a Premier League manager (clearly some of the reasons why FSG like him).
The media lap this up, but it cannot detract from our league position and following the Villa debacle Rodgers must be feeling the pressure.
Like every new manager before him whose had difficulties, Rodgers says he needs time. He’s had 6 months and one transfer window to get his team playing his way. This isn’t long. Improving existing players does take time. Embedding a system of play does take time. But the better coaches need less time, and while they are implementing their changes they at least meet the minimum requirements & expectations for the job. 12th position after 17 games is clearly below expectations.
Brendan’s strength should be his coaching. He’s coached for 20 years, he likes to tell us, but he’s been a manager for only four, with a solitary year in the Premier League, and no titles. FSG knew this when they hired him and must have expected mistakes along the way.
I’m a believer that you judge a team, and a manager, at the end of a season (unless you’re the inept Mr. Hodgson) but judging by the season so far, Brendan will need to improve results fast to save his job. Coaching does take time, improving our international revenues takes time and so does redeveloping Anfield. How do you make a difference when you are quickly running out of time in the middle of a season? Well, you buy well in January. Easier said than done. But is Brendan Rodgers a good judge of a player?
Players who’ve left & reasons why:
Adam: Too slow, poor tackler, too many hollywood passes.
Amoo: Lacked awareness and end product to go with his pace.
Aquilani: Unsure why a string of managers didn’t give him a chance. Rumours of not settling denounced by the player. Juve & Milan didn’t think he was good enough for their midfield even at a knock down price. High salary and Rodgers wanted Allen to play regularly.
Aurelio: Injury record.
Bellamy: Wanted to end his career at home town club.
Darby: Technical and positional deficiencies. Club had better young options for rightback (namely Kelly, Flanagan & Wisdom).
Eccleston: Struggled to consistently find space and score goals against better opposition.
Kuyt: Fed up of being benched in place of Henderson (especially cup finals), wanted a change.
Maxi: Wanted to end his career at home town club.
Silva: Not sure why, I thought he had a lot of raw talent. Has been injured all-season at Barnsley with a hamstring injury.
Carroll (loan): Awful scoring record, poor movement and flexibility, inconsistent technique, slow and can’t run in behind defences. Didn’t fit with Rodgers’ style of play.
Spearing (loan): Mediocre technique, lack of pace, lack of height for defensive midfield. Didn’t want to leave permanently.
Wilson (loan): Loaned to gain experience. Indications he’s still valued at the club but is behind Agger, Skrtel, Coates, Carragher and possibly Kelly and Wisdom as well.
Overall Assessment of Sales: B
Players who were bought and how they’ve done:
Allen: I made a longer post on this recently. From a bright-ish start (replacing Lucas when he was injured) Allen has struggled to impose himself in our team either defensively or offensively. Even putting aside the limitations of his stature and playing out of position, he needs to show a wider range of passing and be more incisive with distribution.
Borini: Strengths are his athletic ability, pace, good movement & works very hard for the team. Weaknesses are that he’s struggled to score and when in goal-scoring positions, has shown a lack of guile (often blasting the ball when a side foot or dink over a diving keeper would have been better) and hasn’t fully understood the requirements of playing wide in a front 3. Before his injury he lost his place in the first 11, and so Rodgers has also acknowledged his disappointing performances so far.
Assaidi: Bought out of left field, apparently under the noses of Ajax! Some good performances in the Europa League, but deemed not good enough for the Premier League squad, sometimes not even making the bench in a side virtually devoid of goals.
Sahin (loan): Quality player who has had some very good performances alongside some mediocre offerings. Still coming to terms with pace and power of Premier League, and needs to be more dynamic in his play, particular with Lucas back, as he is unlikely to play in his preferred deep lying midfield position.
In addition, Rodgers wanted Sigurdsson and Dempsey but didn’t get them because of money and FSG not fully trusting their manager. Both have done okay at Tottenham but nothing special – they’ve had plenty of minutes but struggled to make decisive impacts or score goals.
Overall Assessment of Buys: D -
None of Rodgers’ signings have yet been successes and it seems we did well not to get the two other signings he wanted. Borini and Allen are still young, and should improve, but when you pay double digit £millions for a player they need to be able to have an impact immediately!
Brendan has no experience in the high end of the transfer market, no experience (despite what he says) of working with top players and little knowledge of other league’s transfer opportunities. I accept that we can’t afford a certain price of player, and that other available quality additions won’t consider us because of our league standing and inexperienced manager.
These I can accept so I’m not placing my hopes too high for January. But there are still players out there that we can afford and can help our floundering team. The problem is that on the evidence so far I’m not sure I trust Brendan to find them!
Rodgers was insistent when he was hired that he wouldn’t work with a football director, leading to Pep Segura eventually leaving due to a lack of promotion opportunities. We have been stung previously with the appointment of Comolli, however if ever a man needed an experienced football man around him it would be the inexperienced Rodgers. At the moment though, I’m looking forward to January with as much trepidation as excitement.