3/30/2013 08:15:00 pm

Top-Four Catastrophe: Is this Rodgers' most negligent LFC decision to date...?

Prior to the abject Southampton defeat two weeks ago, Reds coach Brendan Rodgers revealed that Joe Allen required surgery on a long-standing shoulder injury, which he'd been struggling with since October 2012. After that revelation, you'd expect Allen to stay on the sidelines to avoid exacerbating what is clearly a serious injury, but Rodgers did the opposite, and started him ahead of both Lucas and and Jordan Henderson at St. Mary's. In light of the latest assessment of Allen's injury, I still can't understand why Rodgers made such an (arguably) negligent decision.

During his pre-Southampton press conference yesterday, Rodgers revealed the true extend of Allen's injury. He told reporters:

"If you touched it [Allen's injury] with your thumb you would have broken the shoulder, so that just shows you how flimsy it was and also how much pain he was in for a period of time"

Liverpool FC has world-class doctors on its staff, so it's likely Rodgers already knew the extend of Allen's injury prior to the surgery. How else would they know that he needed surgery in the first place?

The point here is *why* would Rodgers start Allen ahead of Lucas and a fully-fit Henderson against Southampton? Where was the pressing need to play him? It makes no sense whatsoever, and that decision clearly contributed to the Reds' downfall on the day.

Allen had an atrocious game, possibly his worst in a red shirt. He was alarmingly off the pace; constantly gave the ball away, and barely protected the back four. Rodgers obviously realised his mistake because he yanked the midfielder off at half time and replaced him with Lucas.

In what universe is it a good idea to play someone who is a 'thumb away' from a broken shoulder ahead of quality, fully-fit alternatives? Can someone explain it to me because I just don't get it. When a player has such a 'flimsy' shoulder, he won't be 100% committed to the physical side of the game for fear of making the injury worse, and this showed during the match.

Rodgers must surely have known this, and I can't imagine the club's medical staff were too thrilled with Allen playing. For me, it's a prime example of prioritising the individual over the team, and Rodgers' catastrophic decision failed miserably, and quite possibly cost the club its final chance of making the Champions League places.

That may sound like an exaggeration, but if Liverpool had won the game, the club would only be six points off fourth place right now, which is infinitely more surmountable than the current nine-point gap.

All managers make mistakes, and that's fine, but mistakes like this go further than common issues like carelessness, a lack of foresight, or failed gambles. This is, IMO, managerial negligence of the highest order, and it may just turn out to be the straw that broke the camel's back.



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47 Comments :

liverpool4life565 said...

Rodgers is ony young in manager years, there going to make mistakes who doesn't? Yes CL would be great but steady progress is good too....

gilstrap said...

Jaimie i have posted a similar statement ....and a lot of well respected pundits and journalists are saying the same thing..i just cant get my head round why he did it...its like the king and his coat all over again ..the guy and his ego have to go ..he played allen as he thought it was an easy game and hes trying to make him look good and once again it backfired spectacularly...he is out of his depth ..i would sack him now if i was fsg for gross misconduct not only has he scuppered the chance of Europe but he has potentially devalued one of the clubs assets in allen by playing him injured...and this is the guy who we are trusting to develop our youth..what by playing them injured..sack him now

lowey said...

that's the reality of the matter well said

gilstrap said...

this isnt a tactical mistake i can forgive them..this is playing injured out of form players before fit in form players in what universe is that not beyond dumb...thats not a mistake that is negligence, in any walk of life in business if you did a similar thing you would be sacked...what this displays is a complete lack of respect for your players and opponents on a level i have never seen in pro sport...but no doubt those who are brainwashed by rogers and fsg will disagree

Tornike Khomeriki said...

I guess that struggle with the shoulder has been a reason for Allen's relatively poor performances of the second half of the season. Now I can use this information to make excuses when sticking to his defense as I have done throughout the season in my posts and comments online! Thanks Jaimie

banoog said...

I don't think anyone can make a sane argument against your point. The most sensible thing Rodgers could have done was to send Allen off to get his shoulder fixed as soon as he knew it was a problem and have him available, if needed, for the end of this campaign.

It's not as if Allen's been instrumental at any point this season, whether in form or not, whether injured or fit. There are individuals in the team that are far more instrumental then Allen will ever be. Quite frankly, Suarez, and an in form Gerrard, are the only players that Rodgers should even contemplate playing whilst injured.

Johnno said...

I agree Jamie; Jogers is more and more looking like a guy with a Napoleon complex. The problem with thinking you are Napoleon is that you take risks and can win some amazing battles by backing yourself. The downside is that you cannot see the wood for the trees because you are so sure of your own ability and do not take other's opinions into account. This means you are prone to losing the the ones no one expects you to.
However, if he is a good manager he will be able to see this in himself and temper the overconfidence a bit. For example, in previous months Jolly Rodgers made some outlandish statements such as "we are number 2 material" when we all knew deep down this team currently isn't. Now it turns out the team sports psychologist recomends that such talk should be stopped as this type of unrealistic goal setting puts undue pressure on the lads and impacts on their ability to play. Create the team, win a few cups and then dream of higher glory. I think in this Kenny had the right idea - just picked the wrong players to carry it through. With reality now setting in - it is reasonable to have Rodgers demand the lads to play for the pride of the shirt. If he is smart, he will keep those who are prepared to give 100% when there is nothing at stake except pride and weed out the benchwarmers. Look at last season, how we fell away when there was nothing left to play for; that should have sent alarm bells through the camp, becuase many were not playing for pride, just seeing the season through.
Oen thing though Jamie, without sounding critical, more of your blogs seem to examine concerns impacting on liverpool such as Suarez possibly leaving, Jolly Rodgers and his littany of mistakes, etc. Try to be more positive and create blogs that unite rather than divide opinion.
See if you can use your network and find out where lfc scouts are going to watch - at least a few juicy rumours about possible signings based on who went where on the weekend wouldn't go astray.

gilstrap said...

rogers changes his tune every week ...hes now banging on about mentality...and trying to pin it on the players....well ive got news for you pal...you picked the injured players .......you pick the dumb tactics when playing away...you put the square pegs in round holes...you keep going back to your old club for average players..we are now linked to another two overpriced average swansea players ...but this is progress and rogers has a plan

gilstrap said...

banoog no players should be picked injured at this level its inches that seperate them

gilstrap said...

steady progress would be great if we was making it ....what progress have we made if villa beat us tomorrow we are going backwards

gilstrap said...

the reality is last year we had bizarre bad luck with injuries suspensions and the woodwork yet still made two finals and Europe coupled with the 3rd best defense in the leauge ...whats rogers excuse

banoog said...

I totally agree. However, my point is that I'm not sure I would start with Allen if he was fit, let alone when he's carrying an injury. Also that Suarez is that important to the team that I would understand contemplating risking him in an important match. The aim in the summer should be to acquire enough quality so as not to resort to such actions.

OriginalChan said...

Wow, quite a reckless, baffling and stupid decision. Hendo wouldn't have had to try too hard to surpass Allen's standards of late, so which makes it even more baffling as Allen isn't the be all and end all to this system working or at least not to date.

Paul said...

Hahaha what a joke u are

Niall O'Reilly said...

I mean this is all speculation..How do we know Hendo didnt have a knock or was mouthing off or anything like that,Now thats all speculation again but unless you're part of the first team backroom its all just guess work and 'calculated' guesses

El_Skittles said...

Not that it would have made a major impact on the day as a few others in the team were atrocious that day, but it was a bad decision, and not his only one this season IMO - I think about the Boxing Day match at Stoke and how awful we were, and then to find out that Rodgers gave Christmas Day off.

Still support Rodgers fully, but these mistakes need to stop if LFC are going to challenge the top 4.

Pete said...

Spot on JK! Using the info provided Allen should not have even made the subs bench. Lucas had apparently picked up an injury and had only trained once that week, so that's fair enough...But it's a massive slap in the face of Jordan Henderson who has been so consistent and he is someone who you would think fits BR's plans perfectly.

BR then claims that he can always count on Hendo, and he has been superb, SO PLAY HIM! I can't understand it.

Play a 4-3-3. 3 man midfield, Gerrard, Lucas, Hendo. Watch us control the game. Any time we have played a 2 man midfield we have failed to control anything, regardless of who played there. Don't overload the team with 5 attackers, sick of it.

Open your eyes BR because you're managing on borrowed time IMO.

Pete said...

Hendo has earned my respect. I know I'm on the outside looking in, but Hendo refused the move to Fulham (because BR didn't give him a chance and thought he was a flop, like Downing). He puts his head down and he works. You can see it on the pitch, the passion he let go when he scored that cracker at Anfield. He also captains England U21's. And he doesn't run his mouth on Twitter like Shelvey, because he's not even on the network...

So I doubt Hendo said anything, nor did he have a knock. Allen doesn't have to turn up to training but will still get picked while Hendo and co are busting a gut.

It's called nepotism, BR has the power and he will prefer his 'golden boy' to everyone else.

Niall O'Reilly said...

Sure thats one theory (Its in all honesty probably the right one too) Ive always liked Hendo,Its was Kennys fault he was so poor last season,BR has made him come out of his shell somewhat as with Downing,But I for one cannot understand why he has not played him more,BR said it was for 'tactical' reasons but Im not sure what tactics he was trying to use not having a workhorse in midfield like Hendo,He does the Donkey work Gerrard used to be able to do while Lucas acts as the anchor,That makes sense to me but then again IM not the one with the badges and the supposed managerial quality that Rodgers has,I really hope we keep Rodgers as I see him being a success if hes given time....and a bit of luck

Ben said...

The only baffling decision that Rodgers has made is why has he not applied to the FA and Premier League for dispensation for Allen to have a mobility vehicle on the pitch.

Think how he could park that thing in front of our defence and help the cause. While making that request to the FA he could ask them to allow Liverpool to have energetic Henderson or Shelvey as the runners who push that mobility thing as they do in cricket when a batsman is injured and allowed to have someone do the running for him.

This way Rodgers has his desire to have Allen on the pitch at all costs while the rest of us get to see the able bodied players doing the running for the club.

Angelos said...

The only sense of consistency this season for LFC is that Rodgers can make at least one mistake for every right thing he is doing... We are scoring more goals, but our defensive line is pathetic (the same defenders last year were so much more reliable)... We are giving more chances to young players - which is good - to have an impressive start, only to fade away then (Sterling, Suso, Shelvey, Allen), or play well and then let them out of starting eleven, without a logical reason (Henderson, Wisdom). Achieving the revival of players like Enrique and Downing and at the same time bury some others - very serious money investments I have to say - without giving them proper chances (Carroll, Coates). Destroy some teams and humiliated from some others. Having some potent transfer movements (Sturridge, Coutinho) and others that raise a lot of questions (Allen, Borini, Dempsey story). Making massive tactical errors, but some very good choices as well... Anfield sometimes was this year a "bastion of invincibility" and an absolute joke some other. We could win anyone or - especially - lose from anybody. I really don't know what to say about this Rodgers lad...

Pete said...

Yeah I agree, it makes sense to have Hendo in the team in most cases, especially away games I would of thought. Also agree on Rodgers, I like to think long term and for the sake of stability I'd grant him a bit for time, and hopefully some luck comes our way too. But these mistakes have to stop, JK has highlighted several of Rodger's mistakes, simply because they have had a big impact on us. Also I don't have any personal opinion on Allen, I thought he was great last season at Swansea, but if your not performing, and injured, you shouldn't really make the team, especially because we have so much depth in midfield. Tactical mistake is fine, taking a risk that didn't pay off is fine, but I would never of seen this happening...

rubyrm said...

Buck not only screwed up on Allen's selection. He changed tactics and the boys could not adapt.

The good times are back said...

Dumb tactics when playing away? Our away form this season so far is the best we have had since Rafa made us drop out of the top 4 in 09/10 so yes that can be classified as progress. This season hasn't ended yet but we have scored more goals, collected more points per game and we are playing attacking football to the standard of Roy Evans teams so really do not know what you are trying to get at. Thank goodness we are not seeing the cautious boring football anymore under the man who is now managing Chelsea. I feel sorry for Chelsea fans. NOT!

Jason Carr said...

allen had been going through a bad patch rodgers picked him because he signed him and thought he would be seen as a tactical genius (by his cult)akas he ended up with egg on his face yet again ,but he can never admit to his mistakes because imo his ego will not let him

Baxter SA Red said...

Hi Jaimie, this is an important point you are raising here and imo it highlights the difference between an experienced manager and one that is still walking around in short pants, if we look back at the Rodgers performance since joining us it does not fill me with a great deal of confidence, most of his signings are questionable,has he really spent wisely? (and I include Sturridge as I find it hard to believe that 3 or 4 Chelsea Managers were all wrong about him....hopefully I am mistaken), predictable tactics and an apparent inability to change tactics during a game, suspect player selections and substitutions, criticism of young and older player in the press, selling of players and failing to get replacements then complaining about a thin squad, constant top four predictions that result in our losing the next game, then we had the Sahin issue, Dempsey debacle, Skertel friction, Reina rumble, not to mention that Tripe and Trotters Spurs who are always signing players right under our nose while BR fiddles.....oh jeez!! I can go on for hours .... there are two questions we need to be asking, (i) are the majority of Red supporters prepared to wait another two or three years until BR gains experience and we are "strong again".....no guarantees!!! and (ii) can we financially afford to wait this long.....given the fact that we need the money and status to attract better players..... alternatively FSG will push ticket prices to raise funds for BR to buy questionable players.

I do not like the idea of constantly changing Managers like Chelsea but at the same time are we prepared to sit around until our Manager grows up and gets some trousers (in about two or three years maybe?)

Jason Carr said...

agree m8 the fact is rodgers has had one half decent season to his name he has not improved lfc unlike the man who took over from him at swansea after losing is supposed best players ,time will tell on rodgers but up to now for me hes been poor

Jason Carr said...

i am,half expecting allen to get on at some time today even if hes on a mobilty scooter if we get 3or4nil up

Jason Carr said...

and if we concede a couple of goals today ,you can also add we have conceded more goals than last season,you can pick all the stats you want,rodgers as been niave to say the least,and we would have more points this season if he had a plan b

gilstrap said...

i dont care about rafa or chelsea ...its points not performance that matter...ps we are 6 points behind everton have won no silverware or made an impact in any cups having spent 40m ..yah we are really going places

Simon said...

"Most negligent" suggests a catalogue of negligence.

Do you really think he could be sacked for this?

Our main mistake was not signing Sturridge in August, this has cost us top four

Jaimie K said...

Sacked? Definitely not. I have faith in Rodgers, but he does make some dodgy decisions every now and again.

Tommy said...

i think the lack of plan B is simply due to the fact that we have a small squad that lacks quality. That couldve been helped in the summer, £25 million for Allen and Borini still haunts me

Tommy said...

i disagree with the ego thing: all managers back their signings, and how could he not? he cant come out and criticise his players it'll destroy their confidence. Kenny arguably overplayed downing, and hendo in the wrong position, running down their confidence as they got more and more criticism.


I think BR has been better, but he dropped allen too late. Also with Hendo there its not like allens the only midfielder. I think sahin couldve been played more instead of allen.

Tommy said...

Hendo makes gerrard so much better! I think stevie needs someone to be his legs, whereas he has a lot of work still to do next to allen

Jason Carr said...

agree waste of money but the team looks spot on for today

Jason Carr said...

he came out and criticised kennys signings so if hes willing to do that but not his own signings to me its his ego

Niall O'Reilly said...

Yeah I just hope we keep Hendo now because hes starting to come into his own,I like Downing but being stone cold honest he should be replaced in the summer with someone who can contribute more goals/assists

Pete said...

Agree - I agree with everything you have said tonight, top stuff mate ;)

Niall O'Reilly said...

;)

Niall O'Reilly said...

Isn't it nice some of us can agree from time to time

jason carr is a fucking cunt said...

I don't care if I get banned. You are a utter fucking prick! I really hope that someone ends your shit life,a knife would do. All you do is fucking bitch,bitch,bitch. You fucking sad excuse of a so called l.f.c supporter go suck your dads cock you gay twat.

Jason Carr said...

jaimie why is jason carrs af"cking c"nt post still not going live and how can i contact one of my biggest fans

ian butler said...

great win today but the knockers will still criticise br...was surprised not to see sturridge play but i thought br got the tactics spot on today.we are defo on the way up but some fans need to give the manager a break.

Niall O'Reilly said...

no he shouldnt be excluded from scrutiny but not people calling for his head,that much is too much right now,at the end of next year we'll see if he deserves to still be there

lfcrednick2 said...

rodgers made a KD move with that match prioritising his buys ahead of the game itself i for one was infuriated with that starting eleven seeing a half injured man set to play (well whats supposed to be) a full 90 nonsense i still back BR and Allen like i did Hendo (thank God for that goal Hendo) but Allen needs time like Hendo did

Simon Joseph Lau said...

Once again, Lucas starts, we win. Hendo levels. The only way Allen is going to work is if we deploy a dynamic holding mid in Mascherano's mold to buy him space and time on the pitch. There is a reason why he flourished alongside Britton for Swansea and Ramsey for Wales.

As to Hendo, we always need someone to do the donkey work to balance the team. Kuyt did it in front on the right for us, Lucas at the back. With our Current array of attackers, there is no better person than Hendo to do the necessary harrying and carrying to feed them, plus his pace is amazing as demonstrated against Villa for his goal.

Shelvey will always be the better creative option moving the ball up through the midfield but he is not going to be that necessary support player who feeds off scraps or serve as the extra feet to our other creative players. Given his strengths and attributes are currently provided by Gerrard, his place is rightfully on the bench as cover.

As it stands, Hendo and Lucas are the must starts for me, Lucas as he limits opponent chances in a big way and Henderson for being able to be everywhere and anywhere as a linking outlet, be it between players or between player and goal, and being able to swap with whoever is playing alongside our holding player or our trequartista.

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