Friday 28 October 2016

Is Rodgers set to pack his bags?

Pressure is mounting on Liverpool boss amid abject start to season

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers

Pressure is something that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says comes with the territory, but after a dismal run, the odds on him becoming the season's first managerial casualty are swiftly shortening.

Rodgers's side face Aston Villa at Anfield tomorrow with the voices of dissenting fans starting to make themselves heard following a four-game winless Premier League streak that has left them seven points behind leaders Manchester City after six games.

The Liverpool boss is a now second favourite with bookmakers to be the first managerial sacking of the new campaign with only rock-bottom Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat keeping him off top spot.

Last Sunday's home draw with Norwich City came on the back of a Europa League draw with Girondins Bordeaux, consecutive defeats to Manchester United and West Ham and a goalless stalemate at Arsenal.

They seemed to hit a new low, however, on Wednesday when they were taken to penalties after a dismal home draw with fourth tier Carlisle United in the League Cup, before scraping into the fourth round.

Rodgers will also not need reminding that Villa have become something of a bogey team to Liverpool in recent seasons with the Merseysiders failing to beat Saturday's opponents at Anfield since 2010.

They were also beaten in last season's FA Cup semi-final by Tim Sherwood's side, one of a series of below-par performances with which Liverpool ended the campaign. Should Liverpool fail to beat Villa, the clarion call from disgruntled supporters for Rodgers to be replaced will increase in volume with Juergen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti among the names being touted as potential successors.

Rodgers's hopes of victory have not been helped by a hamstring injury to Belgian Christian Benteke, who they signed from Sherwood's side in the close season, after he was brought off at halft-ime against Norwich.


Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, meanwhile, admits the players are well aware of the growing discontent among fans but insists they are doing all they can to turn things around.

"I understand the frustration (of fans). We want to win and we're trying everything possible to win and to win in style," he said.

"We all know the Villa game is massive. The final touch is missing for us at the moment but it will come. I really hope it comes on Saturday."

Bogdan will drop out of the team for the Premier League match and while he was brought in from Bolton on a free transfer this summer supposedly as back-up to Simon Mignolet the 27-year-old has ambitions to push his team-mate for a first-team place.

"Afterwards the manager shook my hand and congratulated me, but he didn't say anything special. We will go through the game on Thursday or Friday and analyse it.

"He doesn't speak too much after a game, he does it the day after."

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