Liverpool: The cases for and against Rodgers deserving another year


Three seasons, zero trophies
Gerard Houllier won three trophies in his third campaign at Anfield, while Rafael Benitez lifted the Champions League in his very first. Even the managers remembered as flops typically delivered silverware: Graeme Souness secured the FA Cup in his first full season. Roy Evans did the same with the League Cup in his, as did Kenny Dalglish in his less successful second stint. As a result, Rodgers is the first Reds boss since the 1950s to make it to three years in charge without earning any medals.

Frequent big-match failures
Rodgers fares reasonably well against the less established members of the elite, beating Tottenham five times in a row and twice conquering Man City at Anfield but, besides doing the double over Man United in their worst ever Premier League season, his record against the old school is rotten. He has overseen a draw and four defeats against the current top three in 2014/15, having lost three in four against the other podium finishers last term and won once in 12 tries against the top six in 2012/13.

Repeating the same mistakes
The chief concern about Rodgers’ 2014/15 performance isn’t that he has made too many errors, but that he rarely appears to learn from them. Exhibit A was starting with an identical structure and XI against Man United to the one outplayed by Swansea six days earlier. Defensive disappointment has been a constant of his tenure. Across his three years, they have averaged 1.19 goals-per-match against in the Premier League, which is more than in any season this century prior to his arrival.


The unavoidable stench of a transitional season
After losing the PFA Player of the Year and Premier League top scorer, Luis Suarez, most accepted that Liverpool wouldn’t be as competitive as in 2013/14. Remove the man who was primed for the Uruguayan’s headline role, Daniel Sturridge, for much of the campaign and add distractions like the Steven Gerrard retirement tour and Raheem Sterling contract drama, and you get the impression that this season was doomed, regardless of any managerial missteps.

It was a lot worse before
If a transitional year under Rodgers involves reaching two cup semi-finals and likely finishing fifth – Liverpool are [1.4] to place in the top five – with around 68 points then it is a lot better than they were doing before Rodgers and last term’s title near-miss. From 2009/10 to 2011/12, they shuffled between sixth and eighth and got through three different managers, sinking to as few as 52 points in the final one before Rodgers showed up.

There isn’t a huge appetite for it
Whereas Roy Hodgson was unpopular from the start and it eventually became reluctantly apparent that Dalglish’s second reign wasn’t going as well as hoped, it hasn’t seemed as though Liverpool fans are ready to give up on Rodgers. Admittedly, his name wasn’t chanted as frequently or loudly during the lowest point of this season around November time, but the unmistakable Yankee Doodle tune has been a constant at Reds games in recent months.