Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Rodgers’ Reds Have Lost Hope

Stereotypes can be a dangerous thing in football, but on occasion, the inability to rally to a clichéd cause can be the thread that leads to disaster. Brendan Rodgers faces his football mortality not because his Reds are hopeless, but because Rodgers’ Reds have lost hope.

Liverpool is a club that thrives on icons – from its famous ground, to its radiant strip, a club with a rallying anthem, embossed by an enviably successful history. Even during their lean years, the club has always held the support of the Kop through a talisman or talent that will bleed for the club emblem, bringing with it unwavering belief that next year will bring better.

Yet as Liverpool lurch toward another vacuous season expended of hope, before the fans’ personal expenditure at Christmas, the notable absence within the expanse of Anfield, is a hero that the supporters can cling hope to.

When Steven Gerrard at the end of the 2014/15 season departed for pastures new, with him went the last of a creed. From the legendary names of; Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Greame Souness of the 70s/80s, to the Robbie Fowlers and Michael Owens of the early Premier League era. The club had always had a revered star that could keep the passion of Merseyside in faith.

But such is the current malaise, even the contemporary greats of Luis Suarez and Xavi Alonso seem like distant memories.

Daniel Sturridge on the weekend provided evidence that he can still score goals, but as the sole remaining half of the famed SAS, can his contributions – set against a wretched history of injury – cope with the weight of a giant club on his shoulders alone?

Beyond Sturridge’s goals, and with Gerrard no longer patrolling, it is now James Milner, whose name is sung by the Reds’ faithful. Milner is an outstanding talent, but his effectiveness is carved through constant toil, work-rate and an insatiable will to win. They are all admirable virtues, but lacking in the craft and guile that earned Fowler the mark of “God” or saw Keegan’s perm and Ian Rush’s moustache affixed as mark of respect to even Liverpool’s most ardent followers of fashion

The argument against Rodgers is often a failure to purchase class to replace its kin when it leaves Anfield. This is perhaps fair of all managers at struggling clubs, but replacing Suarez is no three card trick, and filling the cavernous void left by Gerrard’s exit is essentially impossible. His heartbeat thumped to the tune of You’ll Never Walk Alone, whilst his play was like a metronome to the same cherished melody.

Philippe Coutinho represents evidence that Rodgers can find rough diamonds, whilst securing Milner on a Bosman added a frugal element that in different economic times would be a bounty. The jury is still out on the new crop of arrivals. Benteke’s acrobatics against arch-rivals Manchester United served notice of his talents, whilst injury has robbed Rodgers of the full range of Firmino’s talents, which must be of great frustration to the under pressure boss.

If the circumstances are mitigating, the inevitability of outcome is not. Brendan Rodgers’ side sit eighth on the Premier League table, a paltry five points behind a competent but underwhelming Manchester United side.

With a crunch derby against Everton next on the agenda, Rodgers and his Liverpool side has an irresistible opportunity to get the faithful back on board. Should they get a result at Goodison, they will bring with it hope. But if Liverpool is to reassert itself as a heavyweight in the top division, they will need to re-find that most fickle of accomplices on a more permanent basis.

Failure to do so and Brendan Rodgers, just might, walk alone.


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