Did Liverpool axe the wrong man after all?

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Speculation continues about the future of Brendan Rodgers. Different names are continually being touted as potential replacements. One thing that hasn’t been considered is if the wrong man was fired in the first place. Would Roy Hodgson have done a better job in the long run?

There was a time when people mocked foreign leagues for firing managers too soon. It was implausible a man’s job could be under severe pressure after several games. Nowadays it is a symptom of modern society. People lack the patience and want immediate results.

When Liverpool hired Roy Hodgson they knew what they were getting. A manager whose reputation had been forged on getting the best out of average players once they adapted to his systems. This is why he’s so suited to the England job. There was never a promise of flair, it was always about making the Merseyside club solid before pushing forward.

The spectre of Kenny Dalglish in the stands each week hindered his efforts. A club legend that admitted he had wanted the role. He brought back memories of more successful times and was revered by former pros and current players alike. The growing impatience as Liverpool darted around mid-table put the pressure on Hodgson.

There’s a certain tipping point, where regardless of points, a board has decided they will replace their manager.

The Fenway Sports Group give the impression every act is carefully plotted. They also are mindful of tradition and pleasing the Anfield supporters after the disastrous command of the previous American owners.

These factors may have led them to bow to pressure and offload Hodgson. They certainly couldn’t have expected a rapid jump to the top of the table. In his short stint as Liverpool boss he actually made a profit of £2.2m in the transfer market, losing world class midfielder Javier Mascherano in the process.

After a mere 31 games Hodgson left the club. Many refer to the parting as understandable, that for Liverpool it just didn’t feel right, that the direction wasn’t what they expected. It seems laughable a manager isn’t given at least 18 months to stamp his mark on a side.

The inevitable happened and King Kenny returned to the dugout. The highlights of his second experience as Liverpool boss must include signing Luis Suarez and winning the League Cup. We’ll never know if he’d have gotten the same from Suarez as his successor and the silverware couldn’t keep him in the hot-seat.

With the fan choice tried and tested Fenway Sports Group looked outward again. This time determined to see a project through to its natural conclusion. After becoming the highest spending Liverpool manager in the club’s history, it’s safe to say that John Henry got behind Brendan Rodgers.

With over £310m spent in transfers they’d have hoped the natural end product would have been a league title. Rodgers did come close but there are no prizes for second (aside from the Champions League which he bombed in) and after losing Luis Suarez the pressure was back on.

It’s not unreasonable to propose that had Roy Hodgson been given time to apply his structure then been handed a £300m transfer kitty, rather than trimmings, he would have found sustainable success.

Instead he signed off his club career at West Brom before taking charge of the national side. Ironically it was Suarez, a player he never had the chance to coach on Merseyside, that undid his World Cup bid. He has since walked the European Championships Qualifying group with a 100% record after eight games. Okay, England were expected to win the group, but doing it with such a record with only average talent makes you wonder what he could have achieved at Liverpool had he brought in world class players.

We know how it’s worked out with Brendan at the helm. Going into his fourth season he’s had one good year, where he even had the backing of the Liverpool fans. Now he has split those and looks short of ideas. After three seasons of making the side in his image he is still struggling for an identity.

Time is running out for Rodgers, it was something Hodgson never got much of.

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