A woeful end mirrored a poor start to the season for Liverpool, leading to many fans calling for manager Brendan Rodgers’ head after three silverware-free years for the Northern Irishman at Anfield.
Luckily for Rodgers, it would seem the owners of the club, Fenway Sports Group, are intent on allowing him to continue in his post for the foreseeable future.
Although many disgruntled Reds would disagree with the Americans’ stance, there’s actually plenty of logic to justify their decision, on top of the obvious stability that retaining managers brings to a football club, regardless of level.
Liverpool very nearly won the Premier League last season
Dining out on one near-miss should not equal infinite immunity from the boot, but football fans do hold some of the shortest memories around, barring goldfish.
Liverpool’s manager created a swashbuckling side which routinely thumped opposition teams in 2013/14 (even if they were still slightly suspect in defence) to come within a whisker of earning Rodgers Anfield immortality.
Football is the cruellest of mistresses as Steven Gerrard would no doubt tell you, however, Liverpool’s exploits last season suggest he can build another team capable of challenging again given time.
Rodgers is a victim of circumstance
Replacing 52 goals in any team is an extraordinarily tough task for any side in the world. That was Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge’s combined top-flight tally last season, before the former upped sticks for the Nou Camp and the latter spent the vast majority of 2014/15 sidelined.
Jon Flanagan’s season-long absence is another dose of gross misfortune as the club’s rising defensive star.
But his signings aren’t good enough!
This is a completely understandable criticism highlighted by the seriously-underwhelming impact of Southampton trio Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren.
The words Mario and Balotelli do not help either. Then again, if any footie fan reading this was honest with themselves, they probably couldn’t put hand on heart and say they foresaw such a poor return from Italy’s number nine either.
There are question marks defensively too, not least with Alberto Moreno and Mamadou Sakho’s signatures, but then Rodgers has also plucked a few gems out such as Philippe Coutinho and developed youth products Raheem Sterling and Jordan Ibe as well.
The other mitigating circumstance is that Rodger’s voice is just one of several in a transfer committee set up by Fenway, but there is no doubt he’ll live and die by his part in recruitment this summer.
He showed his tactical nous and reached two semi-finals during a difficult season
Having spent the entire autumn fending off journalists over his new-look side’s dreadful form, the collective penny dropped after some genius tactical tinkering.
Rodgers’ switch to a 3-4-3 formation brought about a majestic 13-game unbeaten run in the league which stretched from mid-December to late March and had many believing the top four could be breached, in spite of a terrible start.
Liverpool also pushed eventual winners Chelsea to the wire in a thrilling two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final, before reaching the last four of the FA Cup as well.
Europe was a write off though, albeit the experience gained will be valuable to Rodgers.
There isn’t a suitable upgrade available
The grass, as they say, is always greener. Not in this case, though, unless either Jurgen Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti suddenly decide not to take their planned breaks from the game after parting company with Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively.
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