11 Aug 2015

Dumped: Ruthless Rodgers forces £33m Liverpool trio to train alone. Leaving soon?

No more Mr. Nice Guy! After last season's debacle, Brendan Rodgers appears to be taking a tougher line with some of his mollycoddled players, but is he taking it a little too far?

The season is only one game old, but already this month, he's:

* Dumped Lucas from the squad after an alleged 'frank exchange' of views with the Brazilian.

* Dumped Markovic from the match day squad for the first game of the season.

* Relegated Alberto Moreno to the bench in favour of an untested 18-year old.

Now, according to the Daily Express:

"Rodgers has already banished Mario Balotelli, Jose Enrique and Fabio Borini [combined cost: £33m*] to the periphery and told them to train on their own"

I like the idea of a tougher Rodgers at the helm, and with a couple of exceptions (ignoring Teixeira, for example) his personnel decisions so far appear to make sense:

* I can see why Rodgers' chose to leave Markovic and Moreno on the bench for the Stoke City game.

* Leaving Lucas out of the squad is personally disappointing for the Brazilian, but to be fair, Rodgers has enough options to cover the loss.

* Rodgers rightly subbed off Adam Lallana - who appears to be one of his favourites - after his poor performance against Stoke.

That said, if Rodgers is specifically isolating players and forcing them to train alone, it's out of order (IMO)

* Rodgers may want rid of certain players, but marginalising them from the team smacks of vindictiveness, and arguably sends a negative message to the rest of squad.

* How is forcing Balotelli, Enrique, and Borini to train alone conducive to positive squad morale?

* Granted, those three have struggled to make an impact at Anfield, but I don't see how they deserve to be ostracised from the first-team set-up.

Borini, in particular, gives 100% (on the field, and in training), and Rodgers has always spoken in glowing terms of the Italian's effort and application. For example, in January, Rodgers raved:

"I’m delighted. Fabio is a great example of persistence. He keeps going. He hasn’t featured a great deal but it hasn’t stopped him training well and working hard.

Now, Borini is banished to train by himself? It all seems very unfair, and isn't a very professional way to proceed.

In 2013, Liverpool banished Luis Suarez from the first-team set-up after he used the media to attack the club. That is a valid reason for forcing a player to train alone.

I see no valid reasons here for marginalising Balotelli, Enrique, and Borini. Additionally, what happens if those three remain Liverpool players after the transfer window closes: is Rodgers' plan to make them train by themselves for the entire season?

Generally, I'm totally in favour of Liverpool managers being tough taskmasters. However, in this instance, it's all a front, as Rodgers' risible brand of cloying sycophancy remains a major feature of his management style.

On a related note: Why is it that British players never seem to end up on Rodgers' s**t-list?

Last season, Raheem Sterling disrespected the club over and over again, but he didn't end up being banished from the first team and forced to train alone.

Rodgers gave The Mercenary a pass, and continued to fawn over him, even after the infamous, unsanctioned BBC interview. If Balotelli, Borini et al acted in the same way, I have no doubt they'd be immediately exiled from the squad.

Why the apparent double-standards?

* Balotelli: £16m | Borini: £11m | Enrique: £6m

Author: Jaimie K


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