When in doubt, turn to science, and right now, my beloved Liverpool’s full of doubt. But since we’re not real scientists and the more numbers you bring to soccer, the more odious it becomes, the simple elegance of a pros-cons list is our best tool for figuring out Brendan Rodgers’ future.
Unless you slept through the weekend, you know Young Brendan’s future is the subject of much doubt. Lose 3-0 to United, face the music. In this case, that will mean a week’s worth of hot takes on how hot his seat has become …
All of which will ignore a number of solid reasons for keeping him in the job:
Pros: Reasons to keep him
1. Liverpool do not sack managers mid-season … unless your name is Roy Hodgson, which is a huge hint you may be terrible.
2. Rodgers was the League Manager’s Association Manager of the Year in May. Like, this May. 2014.
3. He’s given us some of the best football we’ve played since the 1980s, long before they invented camera or video. You’ll have to take my word for it.
4. It’s going to be expensive to sack him. He just signed a new long-term contract.
5. Even if we sack him, we’ve got no one to come in as caretaker. I know King Kenny was in the stands over the weekend, but there are only so many times we can walk down that road. And there aren’t a lot of great options floating around.
6. It’s his mess, and he should be allowed to clean it up. And if he can’t, that’s what the summer’s for.
7. Let’s give the man some credit for the development of Raheem “The Dream” Sterling (finishing at Old Trafford aside).
8. He was nice to me on the Liverpool tour of the USA this summer. Can’t say that about every manager at Old Trafford on Sunday.
9. His new teeth look great.
It’s a convincing list, until you look at the other side of the coin:
Cons: Reasons to sack him
1. Rodgers spent more money in a single window than any manager in Liverpool’s history. Not one of those signings has been an unqualified success.
2. He failed to replace Suarez with a genuine world-class striker, despite having the sort of money to do so.
3. Dejan Lovren. 20 million pounds!
4. He doesn’t have adequate competition for Simon Mingolet. Even professional benchwarmer/cheerleader/thought-he-was-too-big-for-Liverpool Pepe Reina would be better.
5. The team selections and tactics are incoherent, at this point.
6. He’s made the defensive unit systematically worse, year-on-year, since taking over.
7. He has favorites, and he picks them regardless of form — Steven Gerrard, Lovren, Glen Johnson.
8. He’s failed to develop an adequate plan to replace Gerrard, which has left him misusing an aging player.
9. Jurgen Klopp will be available soon. Arsenal are bound to be looking at him. Pretty soon, Arsène will leave, but while Kroenke continues to be AWOL, we have a chance to get Klopp to Anfield.
10. Would you trust Rodgers with any more of your money this January window? His record does not justify being given another 20-30 million pounds. And January’s only three weeks away!
11. There’s no track record of winning trophies, and Liverpool’s about to go out of the top four. Can he really attract top names to play for him?
12. Rodgers has shown no sign of being able to turn the slump around, and the longer it goes, the more lost he looks.
13. No football manager should care what his teeth look like.
Thirteen is an important number, mostly because it’s greater than nine. Other important numbers: 10, the place Liverpool sits in the Premier League, and seven, the number of points between it and fourth.
This is our worst points tally at this point of the season since the 1964-65 season — yes, worse than Hodgson — with only two wins in the last 10 games. However, reasons one, four, and five in the “pros” column are why I’m not calling for his head on a silver platter … yet.