Sunday 23 October 2016

Ronnie Whelan: Brendan Rodgers should walk if he can't get his way

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

I don't think I have ever finished a season and been so pessimistic about the future of Liverpool football club.

After watching them being ripped apart by Crystal Palace on a day which should have been about Steven Gerrard, all I could think was - what is he leaving behind?

It seems to me that Liverpool have a manager with his hands tied behind his back and a squad which is in disarray.

Gerrard won't look back at the last few months with any great fondness, that's a certainty.

Somebody asked me the other day whether I could see any coherent plan in action at Anfield over the three years and apart from a policy of buying young players, I don't see much else.

There have been stretches when Liverpool looked unbeatable and Rodgers played his part in that , I believe he could do a lot more with better players.

I don't know that, but my gut tells me it's true. What annoys me is the thought that he is working to an agenda other than his own and I have to say, it's an agenda which has failed spectacularly to deliver good enough players to the club.

Maybe it is time for Rodgers to go into the committee and start thumping the table. In fact, I would go as far as saying that he should be telling his employers that if they don't do what he wants, he will walk.

Saturday was an emotional day at Anfiield and I don't ever remember one like it. In the club's most successful days, great players stepped off the stage without any big fanfare because there was always another on the way in and Liverpool were winning.

I'm certain that the very heartfelt ovation Gerrard received was laced with trepidation and his greatness merely highlighted the fact that Liverpool has nobody like him now.

Which of course begs the question, why is he leaving at all? He will still be better than most of the people Rodgers picks from next August.

Who knows what shape the squad will have but a lot need to be cleared out and lot more need to come in?

Raheem Sterling was booed by the Kop and that's something you don't hear very often. There was an edge to it too and it is very clear to me that fans would not be unhappy if he was cashed in this summer.

The problem with that, however, is that he is one less decent player at the club and even though I'm not sure Philippe Coutinho will ever be the player some believe he can be , I suspect that offers will be made for him which might tempt John Henry.

They wont tempt Rodgers one bit and he has a major job on his hands to pull together a group for next season which has any chance of being more than just mid-table.

Contrast that with Louis van Gaal. Arsene Wenger said on Friday that everywhere he went to enquire about a players, Manchester United had already been.

Liverpool were supposed to be interested in Memphis Depay but really, why would he be bothered?

Wenger's comment about Manchester United's assault on the transfer market told us that Arsenal are at least looking in the same places.

Where does Rodgers go for his players? Are we going to get more young lads who fit some computer programme set of statistics but can't do it in the real world or a team the manager picks?

John Henry needs to let Rodgers be more than just the Liverpool manager. He needs to let him be the manager of Liverpool, literally.

If he doesn't , sometime before Christmas Rodgers will be facing a wall of pressure and calls for his head. The squad that's there is not near good enough and there's a decent chance it will be weaker still by the time the season starts unless there is some very serious investment.

Rodgers needs to take his courage in his hands, lose the nice guy image for a while and make some demands or he will end up taking the hit for a failed system.

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