12 Sept 2015

'I can't believe Rodgers': Ex-Red blasts BR for 'unreal' mismanagement of £37m Liverpool-duo

What is it with Brendan Rodgers? Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of football can see that isolating Christian Benteke up-front is a recipe for disaster, yet despite failing last season with exactly the same tactic, Rodgers continues to employ a tactic that yields negligible results for the club. Inexplicable decisions like this are sabotaging Liverpool's forward progress, and ex-Red David Thompson is as stunned as everyone else by Rodgers' apparent inability to see the obvious.

Reacting to Liverpool's atrocious performance against Manchester United, Thompson scathed:

"I can't believe Rodgers used Benteke in the same way [as] Lambert. Unreal naivety to think he would get more out of him leaving him isolated!"

It's not only Lambert and Benteke [combined Cost: 37m] who've fallen foul of Rodgers tactical ineptitude; Mario Balotelli also failed to prosper as a lone striker, and along with Lambert, he suffered an incredible 80% reduction in creative output under the Northern Irishman's toxic tutelage.

We've been here before, though. Last season, it was astoundingly obvious from very early that Balotelli wouldn't work as a lone striker, but just like now, Rodgers ignored everyone and persisted tactic that arguably derailed Liverpool's entire season.

Balotelli himself even made a public plea to Rodgers to stop playing him out of position, but this was summarily ignored. Now, history is repeating itself, and as a direct result of Rodgers' pigheaded refusal to change things, Liverpool are utterly toothless in attack this season.

In the first half of today's game, Liverpool delivered an utterly shambolic, directionless, and amateur performance, and Benteke's isolation up-front exacerbated the team's overall ineffectiveness.

Prior to kick-off, everything seemed so promising: Rodgers finally decided to play two strikers, and many believed that he'd do the obvious and employ a 442 diamond, with Ings providing support alongside Benteke.

As per usual, though, Rodgers subjugated the team's attacking instinct and decided to play Ings as (ostensibly) a left wing-back, something I suggested might happen prior to the game (though deep down, even I didn't think Rodgers would be stupid enough to actually go through with it).

In my view, this is totally unacceptable. Rodgers' job is to utilise the club's playing assets in a way the maximises the team's possibility of winning games. He is not doing that, and today's game proved that yet again.

As I've argued several times this season, Rodgers is obsessed with forcing his attacking players to prioritise defending/pressing etc over fulfilling their primary role (i.e. scoring/creating goals), and this is having a manifestly negative impact on the team's creativity.

Nothing is going to change, and expecting Rodgers to magically turn things around is as futile as expecting him to see the folly in playing Benteke as a lone-striker.

As such, as noted over the summer, I remain in favour of managerial change at Anfield.

Author: Jaimie K


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