Liverpool: Rodgers senses ‘hysteria’, 33 new players and Manchester United move miles ahead
The Sunday Times says “Liverpool as far from the top as they’ve ever been”. Is Brendan Rodgers’ side that bad?
Rodgers surely also knew, from last year, that when you churn playing staff in the summer it is hard to find consistency. His latest spree, featuring eight arrivals, was lauded by supporters seeking change — but after 33 signings, for £292m, in three years, is it not stability that Liverpool need?
Recruitment defines most reigns. It is likely to do so with Rodgers. The 33 have been an unbalanced crew, including five No 10s, 10 strikers and only two wingers…
There is another five-year anniversary approaching, of John W Henry’s takeover in 2010. The pledge was “to first focus on stability rather than change”. Can Rodgers weather trouble and finally get a restless club to settle?
Another noble Henry 2010 objective was to “return Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successfully competing for and winning trophies”. But look through the squad. How many would get in the first teams of Liverpool’s rivals in England — let alone Europe?
Look at the economics: in 2010, Liverpool’s wage bill topped Arsenal’s and was just £10m behind United’s and £12m behind Manchester City’s. Now it’s £71.5m behind United’s, £62.5m behind City’s, £23m behind Arsenal’s. Liverpool have never seemed further from Henry’s goal and for reasons neither he nor Rodgers fully control.
“There’s a hysteria around the club. We’ve lost fewer games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in all competitions – two. It’s a huge club, a worldwide, iconic club, so the scrutiny on it is huge. It doesn’t affect us. We’re working hard and trying to integrate players back into the team….There is a group of people that don’t want me here. Myself and the players stay very calm and work very hard.”
But it’s about belief. City and Arsenal have lost in the Champions’ League. Can Liverpool even get there?