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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Ronnie Whelan: Sack and spend mentality will never work at Liverpool

Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish with chief executive Ian Ayre in the stands at Goodison
Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish with chief executive Ian Ayre in the stands at Goodison

The stark reality for Liverpool fans waking up today is the fact that they now support a sack and spend club and I never thought I would see the day when I would have to say that.

And no matter who John Henry and the club's owners choose to replace Brendan Rodgers with, he will still have to deal with the same players and the same way of finding new ones, which has cost the Irishman his job.

We are now in a vicious cycle and Spurs are the prime example of how hard it is to lift yourself out of a rut caused by a bad business model. Off the pitch, they are known for shrewd dealings by Daniel Levy. On it, they don't win anything and the manager gets the bullet when everything goes wrong.

READ MORE: Rodgers finally runs out of time at Liverpool

How often have we seen this happen at White Hart Lane down through the years? How often will we see it happen at Anfield before there is a return to a way of doing business which allows a manager to pick his squad and live or die by results?

Believe

Perhaps John Henry and his pals believe that their way will eventually work for them, but it won't.

Did Rodgers deserve it? If you subscribe to the view that he accepted the conditions imposed on him by the owners and so pays the price, the answer is yes.

READ MORE: Arsene Wenger: 'Brendan Rodgers is a quality manager and he'll be back soon'

But if you think that he was mired in interference from a committee on the most important element of his job, player acquisitions, then his hands were tied from the start.

When he had good players, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, fit and flying, Liverpool nearly won the title.

READ MORE: Klopp for the Kop: Former Dortmund boss to open talks at Anfield

But Suarez and Gerrard have not been replaced. Despite an outlay of £300m which matches the kind of spending I thought would be necessary when Rodgers took over, Liverpool still have a bits and pieces squad.

I have always been troubled about what has been happening in the background during Rodgers's spell at the club.

Was enough being done to scout players to improve the squad? Were the right people doing it? Who made the final call?

Liverpool planned and bought poorly after Suarez left and in many ways, Rodgers is taking the hit for that.

Take the Mario Balotelli issue. I say issue because it was never a signing in the normal sense of the word. Liverpool agreed to give a footballer a lot of money and got nothing in return.

I'm happy to accept Rodgers's initial response to talk that Liverpool would sign the most troublesome footballer in world footballer two summers ago which was, in as many words, 'over my dead body'.

Still, he was signed and I suspect that Rodgers was forced to make the best of a woeful situation which he didn't cause. He's been struggling ever since.

After the game against Everton yesterday, Rodgers claimed that he felt no pressure and the obvious conclusion to draw from that is that the phone call he got from Ian Ayre was a big shock.

Intact

But I couldn't help thinking as he was talking, just say nothing. Walk away from a derby game with your record of never losing one intact and move on.

Clearly, Henry had other plans and from what the club have said, they will make a "timely appointment".

That seems to mean that either Jurgen Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti has already been lined up and that we won't be left waiting for long.

But whoever gets the job, he must fight and win the right to control transfers completely.

If he doesn't, we will be back here again in another year or two.

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