1 Apr 2014

'He hasn't done particularly well': Molby reveals his one criticism of Rodgers. Fair...?

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is doing a superb job at Anfield this season, if the Reds go on to win the Premier League title, he'll become an instant Anfield legend, and deservedly so. Regular readers will know that I've supported Rodgers from day one ('100% behind BR and FSG' ring a bell?), but I am also critical of certain aspects of his reign, and make no apology for that. LFC's good form shouldn't mean Rodgers is immune to criticism, and Reds legend Jan Molby clearly feels the same.

In a recent column for 5-Times, Molby highlighted what he perceives to be Rodgers' main management flaw. He observed:

"There is only one criticism of the manager and that is that he hasn’t bought particularly well. Next summer [BR must get it right] because Manchester City’s millions will come to the fore and Chelsea will buy a striker making them 15 percent better".

Fans can continue to stick their heads in the sand for as long as they like, but the self-evident fact is that Rodgers' performance in the transfer market is not the greatest so far. Of the 16 players signed since 2012:

* Only TWO (Coutinho and Sturridge) are unqualified successes.
* Mignolet is a decent signing, but the jury is still out.
* Joe Allen remains a squad player, despite costing £15m.
* £16m Sakho has failed to establish himself as a regular starter.

* Ilori, Aspas, Borini, Alberto, and Assaidi (combined cost: £33m) = zero contribution.
* Loan signings Moses and Sahin = waste of loan fees/wages.
* Toure and Cissokho have had a few decent games, but neither has set the world alight.

Being charitable, and including Allen and Mignolet in the 'success' bracket', Rodgers' hit rate for transfers (i.e. success in signing players who make a consistent impact on LFC's forward progress) is a paltry 25%, and that's being generous.

It's a testament to Rodgers' skill as a manager that he's triumphed despite signing some dud players, and he deserves every accolade going for taking the Reds to the brink of the title. However, he really needs to improve in the transfer market, and this summer is (IMO) the most important window in years.

History shows that LFC have a habit of sabotaging forward progress with poor performance in the transfer market, and two specific examples prove this point:

* 2002: Liverpool finished 2nd in the league. Optimism was extremely high, and the Reds were expected to go on and mount a serious challenge for the title in 2002-3. In the summer, Gerard Houllier got rid of Litmanen, McAllister, and Anelka, and signed Diouf, Diao, Cheyrou, and Diarra. Liverpool regressed big time, and finished 5th a year later.

* 2009: An awesome league season. Liverpool finished 2nd, just four points behind Man United. Optimism was off the charts. Alas, in the summer, Rafa Benitez lost Xabi Alonso (after alienating him during his pursuit of Gareth Barry); Sami Hyypia (also alienated due to being dropped from the CL squad), and brought in the *injured* Alberto Aquilani, and Sotiris Kyrgiakos, a pale imitation of Hyypia. He also needlessly spent £17m on Glen Johnson, a player LFC (arguably) didn't need. In 2010, LFC finished 7th.

2002 and 2009 should've been major platforms upon which to build, but Houllier and Benitez got it horribly wrong in the transfer market, and sabotaged the club's forward progress. Rodgers has got away with it this season (mainly due to SAS papering over the cracks), but if he continues to get it wrong with transfers, Liverpool will inevitably suffer at some point, which is why he has to spend the club's transfer funds *wisely* this summer.

Fans will no doubt dismiss this possibility, just as they did at the end of the 2002/2009 seasons, but it's happened in the past, and it can happen again.

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  1. Rodgers had his hands tied in the transfer market because KK blew the budget on dross and forced FSG to to come up with a spending strategy, also he missed targets Like Costa, Willian, Mkhitarayn due to no CL, and don't ask me what happened with Salah and Konoplyanka but either of them would have been great additions, yes he gambled on a few 6-8million players that didn't work out but I'm sure you'll see much more productive transfer dealings this summer, but the point is he has tried but the standing of the club and other factors has let him down imo!!

  2. What if he had got the players he actually wanted, Costa, Mkhitaryan, Willian, Konoplyanka etc.

    I have a feeling that this assessment of his signings would be quite different. Sakho was starting and playing well before injury and Allen is a squad player but how long did it take Hendo to push on........?

    Both those players will be big member of the squad and first team next season. Negative as ever JK, you bore me

  3. Sturridge, Coutinho,Mignolet, Sakho and Allen are all top players,both Sakho and Allen haven't had it good with injuries,but i've no doubt they will be important players over the coming seasons,as for Borini and Ilori,they are very young,but I do believe they were bought for the future,the same can be said for Alberto,Brendan is building a squad that will be able to fight on all fronts. We will sell Aspas and Assaidi and recoup a few quid. Our outlay on players is small compared to our rivals for the title. We are buying players to suit our team and style of play,unlike our rivals who all seem to be following real madrid model. Things look great, in my opinion!!

  4. You're right. He hasn't bought well, but he has managed what he has well. I chalk the bad buying up to being a newbie at this level. I am confident that he will get better in the buying arena just as he has in the tactical and man-management arenas.

  5. JK - I agree with some of your analysis. PC and DS are the stand-outs but I wouldn't write off some of his other buys. Allen and Sakho may well be leading players in the future - particularly as we build the quality and size of the squad to compete in CL and domestic comps. I also think we may yet see Borini and Illori back in the squad.
    But my point is this. I very much doubt that BR's record in the transfer market is any better or worse than most other managers. You can look at most managers teams/squads and probably make a similar case for identifying 2-3 standouts, a number of reliable players and a few duds. Pellegrini, Fergie, Wenger, Mancini and Mourinho have all bought players who can be judged failures - and for much bigger money.

  6. But as a coach he has improved Henderson , Flanagan and Sterling. How much has money has this saved us. Hendo looks a great investment and the other two have been a revalation

  7. Just curious, what's the success rate of other managers with their transfers?

    For instance, if you were to say Rodgers gets 15-20% right... how do Mourinho, Pellegrini, Wenger match up? Are they in that range, worse, higher?

    Point is, if 15% is the average, than Rodgers can't necessarily be blamed. But if the average of a "good transfer" (loose definition) is 30%, well, then Rodgers should be held accountable.

  8. To me, the biggest thing that can't be held against Rodgers is the fact that players refused to come here without CL football. That can't be held against him as we would have had to vastly overpay for them, which we weren't going to do.

    The problem is that he's brought in a bunch of those 6-8m players that would come here and by and large, they haven't worked out.

  9. That is why winning the title this season is important. Previous years we tried too hard to improve after the disappointments of finishing second.
    But when you win the league you get atleast one good player. United got Keane, Chelsea got Essien, Arsenal got Ljunberg just after their title winning seasons.
    I expect Brendan to get 2 more HITS this upcoming window, which should be enough to maintain another challenge. But in reality I'd happy with one since the likes of Suso, Borini are set to return as better squad players. On their day our current first team is freakishly strong except for maybe 1 more CB.

  10. I am still not sure how much say BR has in the transfers with the introduction of "thercommittee"

    I saw a discussion the other night in which it was suggested he was did not want to sign Sturridge but was overruled. This seemed unlikely to me but the journo seemed confident and those in the studio accepted his version.

    The truth is we just don't know what constraints he is working under, how many of the signings are his choice and as others have pointed out what constitutes a transfer success and how LFC match up against other clubs. Spurs for example anyone?.

  11. Allen, now getting some game time is proving to be well worth the faith. Sakho was LFC's best and most consistent defender till he got injured, so what's to doubt.. Same goes for Mingolet, a better defence and he would be getting the support he needs, without, he is still a very safe bet for LFC between the posts...
    But hey, his is about trying to rip holes in the club instead of celebrating the amazing job they are doing...
    Stuff Molby... often I hear drivel coming from him, repeated here as if it was your own opinion....
    Nevermind that LFC lead the table ahead of teams who have hundreds of millions worth of players and more money to get who they wish, eclipsing the paltry amount that was available to BR... also no CL to offer restricting the types of players he would wish to get....
    Nah! I say BR has done an admirable job, and as with all teams, he has had great success all things considered....
    We need 11pts now to guarantee CL footie, less if others slip up... lets see who wants to come to Anfield now....

  12. nonsense form a journo,, rodgers worked with Studge at chelsea and knew exactly what he could offer, what would FSG know about him....
    I wonder why people believe that these journo's are privy to the inner workings of LFC, and especially to this sort of info.....

  13. The post here is not to question his ability to develop players. He's done fine work there, especially with the players you mentioned.

    It's the question of his ability to spend money wisely on other players.

  14. Transfers are shocking. Wasted millions

  15. JK strange of you to look for a negative, very out of character. Show me one manager, world class manager, that hasn't bought a dud or many in their entire career? It cant be done because football is not a science.

    Personally I don't think the jury is out on Mignolet, apart from a couple of goals where he was at direct fault, he has had a terrific first season, had he replaced Dudek and not Reina as No. 1 we would all be singing his praises to high heaven. Reina set such lofty standards, it's easy to say SM hasn't been a massive improvement on Pepe, however he takes less risks and has been at fault far less than PR during his last couple of seasons.

    Allen has played his part in this team, I don't think he's been a flop at all, he just hasn't been the player people thought we were going to get and marking him down because he hasn't lived up to our standards is unfair. He has been very effective carrying out Rodgers' directions.

    Toure has played a good few games and has a couple of assists, his professionalism and winning mentality has probably served us far greater, behind the scenes, than we can imagine. This is why BR wanted him signed, we don't have many players in our team who have won the English Premier League, he's one of them. That kind of experience can be invaluable.

    Sakho has played his part, not too bad for a first season ravaged by one bad injury, you can only see him getting better next year.

    Cissokho started slow but then played his part when required, when better players available he is an option at left back in case of injury.

    Alberto, as Rodgers has always sad is one for the future so difficult to label him a flop when barely played and always mentioned in teh furure category and not the here and the now.

    Same with Lloris.

    So this leaves Borini/Aspas/Assaidi as signed players who will probably leave and not to much money lost. Everyone needs to learn from their mistakes and hopefully BR has learned from his. He certainly isn't happy with them otherwise they would have had more playing time, unlike Houllier and Benitez who would play their really awful signings regardless of how bad they actually were and how bad they actually played.

    Moses/Sahin loan players who filled the squad with a better type of player than some of the tripe we have had before, that they haven't worked out is no big financial loss.

    I love how some people are still saying that SAS have papered over the cracks, this is ridiculous. Flanagan, Sterling, Skrtel, Gerrad, Allen, Couts, Johnson and Henderson deserve some of this credit too, they are the ones doing the dirty work that allow SAS to hit such spectacular heights, it's lazy journalism to say such things as papering over the cracks and very offensive to the aforementioned payers.

    All in all I would say that three of Rodgers' signings have been out and out flops, although we will probable make our money back, and who isn't entitled to three mistakes in your first few years at a massive club.

    Let's look at ALL the positives that far out-way this one negative aspect of an otherwise near perfect season.

  16. With respect, Sakho was not LFC's 'best and most consistent' defender. If that's the case, why is he not in the team now? Surely BR would want his best defender playing, no? Plus, the stats show that LFC lose more, and win less with Sakho in the team.

  17. So I worry less about purchases, if mikhitarayn had been bought for 25 mill this would have come at the expense of one of these players. Rodgers was quoted as saying he was buying squad players as we needed more depth. We have no idea how good some of these purchases are as they have not had a decent run out due to his coaching methods and the excellent form of the starting 11. Those that have featured (I include Allen) have made massive contributions. Rodgers has brought pride back to our club and I'm grateful ynwa

  18. Injury and the fact they have been steady over the last month. Now that he is over the injury I fancy him to start at west ham against big andy

  19. We did need more depth. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like we added quality in depth.

    There are some players that I agree with you in terms of not being given a shot (Alberto as an example), and other players who have been given a shot but not in their natural position (Aspas, Borini as examples).

    But by and large, the players that have gotten us to where we are today were here before he was manager.

    Skrtel, Agger, Flanagan, Johnson, Henderson, Gerrard, Sterling, Suarez, Lucas.

    The ones he's brought in who have played consistently: Coutinho, Sturridge, Mignolet, and Allen.

    My point is that the majority of the team was here prior to Rodgers. He's done an excellent job of getting the most out of them.

  20. I frankly disagree. The game for him to start would have been Sunderland as we played 3 games in 7 days.

    I can't imagine Rodgers tinkering too much with the lineup, barring injury or an incredibly poor dip in form.

  21. Rodgers never worked with D Studge at Chelsea, he left just before Sturridge arrived.

  22. I am not agreeing with what the journo said just illustrating that there are different views of what goes on and the truth is none of us know. Consequently we cannot apportion praise or blame with any certainty.

  23. In truth I would be happy to upgrade on Borini, Assaidi. It worries me a little if we buy too many big names as they expect to play and there is also pressure on the manager. Would any of those signings be an improvement on what we currently have? It has been a blessing to miss out on some of the targets. Salah at this point doesn't look a gem, mata has hardly set the world alight and spurs steals have let them down.

    It is far from an easy thing to get right,I have more faith in our youth system that is coming to fruition

  24. You may be right, just not sure how we can contain the big man on set pieces

  25. as I said to you a few days ago, yes some of his signings haven't worked out, but it's a much bigger gamble in the transfer market when you need to go and find diamonds in the rough who are willing to come to to a non-UCL club. Like others have pointed out, having UCL on our side would have given us a much bigger chance of attracting the likes of Costa, Willian and Mkhirtiyan. I don't really care how much Rodgers has spent, you can't judge him until you see him perform in an exclusive market for UCL clubs, because unless you have UCL, it's a lot harder to get the GREAT players you WANT, and you're then forced to scrap around for cheap deals, offering potential i.e. Couts and D studge, which you hope will work out.

    Just look at how the gamble has not paid off for Spurs- they've gone off and spent 100 m on all this great midfield potential, and most people were singing their praises of how well they performed by buying the likes of Lamela (Steve Nicol was a big fan of spurs in the summer, who can be hard to please). However, they didn't really buy established, proven talent, just some young talented players like Lamela who had the big potential. This just highlights that even when you spend 100m on unestablished talent because lack of UCL has prevented otherwise, it's a gamble, and Rodgers has tried to work with that in the market. Just see what he does this Summer.

  26. I agree with Aaron below me...Mignolet is excellent, and Allen can no longer be considered a squad player, since his return to full health he's been very important. Toure is a leader and is probably great in the dressing room, and aside from two high profile errors has been very solid. Sakho is also excellent, injuries took him out of the team and it's difficult for anyone to force their way back into a winning team, but he has been and will continue to be a force at the back for us. Assaidi can definitely be called a flop, as can Aspas in my opinion, and Borini is quite young and could still come good...he's shown glimpses at Sunderland.

    As for Ilori and Alberto, I don't think any reasonable fan expected them to make a contribution this season...they are players for the future. Yeah yeah transfer fees, but do we really know how much of the fees were paid up front and how much will be performance related? Sterling was bought in 2010 for a fee that would rise to 5mil, and he didn't play straight away...I think Alberto and Ilori will be good for us, and it's far too early to call it wasted money. Sahin Moses and Cissokho weren't / aren't great, but no transfer fees for them makes it excusable.

    So really out of all of Rodgers' signings, only two can be called duds. Aside from Assaidi and Aspas I think everyone Rodgers' has SIGNED (no loans included) can play a part for us going forward, especially considering Rodgers' ability to get the most out of his players. We should also keep in mind that FSG operates with a transfer committee, so any failures do not lay solely at the feet of Rodgers...and I believe their have not been many failures.

  27. Don't forget that the other 3 managers mentioned have had a much better pool of players to buy from because of UCL. But Wenger either doesn't know how to swim or he has a fear of water, because he refuses to jump in.

  28. I think Agger has been average, and he may just as well lose his spot. He was caught out a few times against Spurs in fact, and given our history of terrible target man marking, Sakho would be an expected feature in the first team on the w/end.

  29. My lips are sealed...

  30. I know its 1 April but .......