It appears unlikely that Brendan Rodgers will be out of a job this month, but barring a miraculous turnaround—the kind of turnaround that has Liverpool pushing City for top spot and romping through their Europa League group—it increasingly seems a matter of when not if he goes.
A few decent results might help keep Rodgers around a little while longer, but it will take some more significant than that to put doubts to bed after more than a year of mostly poor, directionless performances and middling results. Plus now, it's not just the fringe who seem to have given up on Rodgers as Liverpool manager.
Pundits who in the past had backed him have begun to turn. Former players talk about how well others might do in the job. Even the club's paper of record acknowledge fans are right to be running out of patience. And it's in his Liverpool Echo column that ex-Red John Aldridge has shared his own doubts today.
"There are a lot of angry Reds at present, Reds looking to vent and to express their frustrations" began Aldridge in his column this week. "I don't blame them. It's not good at the moment, it really isn't. Performances are poor and the last two results have been awful. There's pressure on the manager, make no mistake."
Part of that pressure comes from the fact it no longer matters Rodgers is still a young manager. He may not be the finished product yet, but in year four and as the Premier League's third longest tenured manager, there's increasingly an expectation he show he can be a man for the present and not just for the future.
"He was in a similar situation last season when we started poorly, and he changed things around and managed to get us back playing again," added Aldridge. "It's early days this season, but I think we need a similar turnaround. That first half at Old Trafford was as bad as anything I can remember. It was ridiculously bad."
And that, too, is a big part of Rodgers' growing problem. It's not just the poor end to last season he's fighting to overcome. It's not just the 6-1 capitulation to Stoke on the final day of the 2014-15 season that caused him to burn through all the trust and good will he'd earned by the end of his second season in charge.
It's that Liverpool floundered for most of last year. It's that they started poorly and Rodgers took far too long to even begin to try to address a number of distressingly obvious problems. Then, after seeming to have fixed them for a few of months, he went back to those things that hadn't been working to end the year.
One of the biggest problems during last season's dire, bookending runs was a lack of identity, and this has carried over to the new campaign and is what many Liverpool fans—including Aldridge—seem most concerned with. It's not just the poor play and middling results. It's that there appears no long-term plan for the side.
"We looked, quite frankly, like a team that has lost its identity," added Liverpool's former striker. "I'm not sure what we were trying to do. We had square pegs in round holes—Danny Ings was wasted playing wide on the left and we didn't look like we were going to get players up in support of Christian Benteke.
"I waited for us to do something, but we just didn't get going. It was so strange, and really frustrating, [and] it's no wonder the fans are angry."