It was the worst 45 minutes that I can remember Liverpool playing in 40 years as Stoke City ran riot in the first half on Sunday, racing to a 5-0 lead on the way to thrashing Liverpool 6-1.
On the eve of one of Liverpool’s greatest ever nights, the Champions League win in Istanbul, could a clearer comparison be drawn between where Liverpool were a decade ago and where they are now?
What annoys me the most is that in Steven Gerrard’s last two games for Liverpool, at home against Palace and away to Stoke, Liverpool were flat and outplayed. How did that happen?
Fingers have to pointed at Brandan Rodgers and how the team regressed this year under his leadership. Asked if he understood the pressure was building on him, the Liverpool boss said:
“Yes, absolutely. I’ve always said that if the owners want me to go, then I go. It’s as simple as that.
“But I still feel I’ve got a lot to offer the club. A lot has happened this year which has made the job difficult, but I totally understand that.”
It was a disappointing end to Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool career, and Rodgers was dejected after their first-half display at the Britannia Stadium.
“I’ve got two apologies to make,” he said. “Firstly to the supporters because it was nowhere near good enough or competitive enough from any of us representing Liverpool today. A very, very poor performance in that first half.
“The second apology goes to my son [Swindon player Anton Rodgers], because I was supposed to go down to Wembley to see him in the [League One] play-off final, but I can’t leave here and shoot away after that.
“There’s a lot of reflecting to do after that performance. Just a really disappointing first half.
“We were really defensively poor in a couple of moments that we spoke about before the game, in terms of stopping crosses. We were too easily beaten in one-v-one situations and that led to openings for them to score.
“There were some outstanding goals but we certainly didn’t help ourselves.”
Liverpoo’s lack goals, something even casual fans could see would be an issue in August, and Rodgers admitted there needs to be an improvement in front of goal.
He said: “We finish in sixth position, which is where we deserve to finish. It’s a big, big summer ahead. We lose Steven after today and you’ve seen again his inspiration in the team to get a goal. We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do.
“I think it’s clear, you look at our goals over the course of the season and [the lack of goals] has been the major contributing factor.
“I’ve had to look at different ideas and different ways to make the team create and score more.
“We’ve taken our beating today. Stoke were better than us, especially in that first half. Second half we were much better and much more authoritative in the game, but still we can’t take much away from losing 6-1.”
What worries me most about Rodgers is the after three years in charge at Anfield, is that he has not settled on a formation never mind starting XI. Is it 3 at the back or 4? Liverpool have been a mess defensively for two seasons now. What makes Fenway Sports Group think that Rodgers can solve the club’s defensive problems this summer after failing to correct them the previous two years?
Sometimes managers keep their jobs because there is simply nobody better available that summer. But with the firing of Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid and the unexpected departure of Jurgen Klopp from Dortmund, there are two managers available with a much better CV than Rodgers, and who are interested in managing in the Premier League.
This is a massive summer for Liverpool if they are to challenge for a top four place next season. AndI don’t think that Rodgers is the man to guide Liverpool back into the Champions League. What do you think? Does Rodgers deserve one more year?