"I chose a half measure, when I should have gone all the way... I'll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter." - Mike Ehrmantraut
There has to be an explanation for why there is much doubt and debate surrounding Liverpool after an opening day three points along with a convincing summer transfer window. The Reds managed to keep a clean sheet and exorcise some of the ghouls that tormented Liverpool since being mangled at the Britannia in May. Liverpool needed to start with a win and did just that. Yet Rodgers is being questioned. Why?
The grumbles mainly centre around three players: Lucas Leiva, Mamadou Sakho, and Alberto Moreno. Lucas is reportedly available for sale with no replacement lined up for the Brazilian defensive midfielder, Moreno's future is apparently in doubt after the Spanish left back lost his place to a defensive rookie, and Sakho has been linked with a move to AS Roma as it seems that the French international lacks whatever it is that Dejan Lovren possesses. While all three are still contracted to the club with no firm bids tendered for their services, all these rumours arrived quickly after a vital victory. There will always be transfer whispers surrounding one of Europe's grandest clubs, but will all three depart the club before the end of the transfer window? It's unlikely.
Even if the manager was trusted, there would be fans who would disagree with moves that sorely weaken the first-team's squad depth. Sir Alex Ferguson wasn't infallible, neither is José Mourinho. The belief that their knowledge, competence, experience, and foresight ensured that any disagreement was accompanied by an understanding that somewhere and somehow there was a plan behind certain players being discarded. Their respective track records stood up to scrutiny; the future would probably tell similar successful tales. This is not an examination of the rights or wrongs of selling such players, this column will not step into such mortal affairs at this time. Day 77 came and wentwith what was the only acceptable outcome, and Rodgers' judgement will not come at this stage.
If one is the sum total of collected experiences to date, it would be apposite to point out that while judgement may lie at some future date, actions in the present will undeniably contribute to such a fateful day. This appears to be why there is not an ounce of mirth in many circles for the possible departures of players in positions where the squad is quite thin. The errors of today contribute to the woes of tomorrow. Rodgers spoke of regaining supporters' trust, but the well is running desperately dry. A solid win will be simply insufficient, but neither will it condemn him as an inadequate charlatan. Once upon a time, when Liverpool rested comfortably on a lofty perch, a young manager didn't enjoy the overwhelming support of his fanbase. A future managerial invincible arrived in London with the most unassuming aura, while one manager may have told journalists that he was "special" but still had to prove just that.
The path of Ferguson is often cited, but look at the arrivals of Wenger and Mourinho. The latter two were deemed as necessary managerial changes for clubs that needed something extra to reach the destinations they desired. For every manager who finally makes good on perceived promise after years of uncertainty, there are countless others who couldn't do what was necessary. This is the season where Liverpool fans will find out which category Brendan Rodgers will join. Even if he does qualify for the top four, he may not do so the following year or lack the gravitas demanded without a trophy to his name.
Some Liverpool fans are wondering whether there is a cost to giving Brendan Rodgers a chance. There appears to be a feeling that such an opportunity should be granted with the club's most useful pieces in place in the event of a managerial change. Considering this is a pivotal season, it might be wise to leave a few chips in the club's pockets just in case. Destroying certain parts of the squad and discarding players of undoubted use will only lead to doom without any adequate or superior replacements in sight. Anyway, how much upheaval can the squad take? Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, and José Enrique have been training away from the first-team squad in the hope that all three will no longer be at the club by the end of the season. Isn't that enough?
However, what does it mean to support the manager? Does it mean letting him shape the squad as he sees fit for a season where responsibility will rest almost entirely on one person's shoulders? Should he continue with players he does not want to satisfy the demands of certain sections of the fanbase? Last summer, Rodgers believed he was hampered by the competing recommendations of other opinions. Now that he has been supported by the club with the players he wants, there should be no excuses whatsoever. Imagine the manager "bending the knee" to those who he must lead.
Moreno and Sakho will probably stay, and if no buyer is found for Lucas, he might too. If you wanted Rodgers to stay, you've got your wish. If you wanted Rodgers to be backed so you could see him do things his way, welcome to his world. Of course it's not a case of such crude polarisation, but it appears that Brendan Rodgers might be walking the path that Mike Ehrmantraut wished he had.
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