After Fenway Sports Group backed Brendan Rodgers over the summer, most expected the embattled Liverpool manager had at least until November or December to prove his worth before he would be at risk of losing his job. Few, though, could have imagined quite so shambolic a start to his fourth year in charge as Liverpool have suffered through.
Liverpool haven't won—at least not in regulation—in six matches now. Their only two regulation victories this season, their first two league games, were 1-0 affairs. They beat Stoke thanks to a late wonder-strike from Philippe Coutinho in a match they otherwise failed to impress in. Against Bournemouth, they needed an allowed offside goal and one of their opponent's wrongly chalked off.
Most recently, they escaped utter embarrassment at the hand's of Carlisle United—a side with the worst defence in England's fourth division—by winning their Capital One Cup tie on penalties after only managing to score once in a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes. The football on display has been dire. The results have, at best, been no more than middling. And Brendan Rodgers is in trouble.
According to a number reports today, he's in fact rather more than just in trouble. He may be on the verge of being sacked. He could even be out of the job before the Aston Villa match kicks off on Saturday. If that were to happen, it would seem likely Sean O'Driscoll or Gary McAllister would take over for at least one game before a more permanent replacement could be brought in.
The most certain of the reports so far comes from Talksport's Liverpool correspondent Graham Beecroft, who claims FSG had made the decision to part ways with Rodgers shortly before last night's cup tie and that the dire performance will only have steeled their resolve. Even if that isn't the case, though, Rodgers' position may have become untenable given the growing air of inevitability.
With fans booing at Anfield, opposition supporters mocking him, and multiplying reports that it's only a matter of when, not if, he is sacked as Liverpool manager, it's increasingly difficult to see a real way forward for Rodgers. As yet, there is no confirmation from those with known, close ties to the club. But at this point, it has begun to feel as though that almost doesn't matter.
The football has been dire; the results middling. The press is speculating about which of Jurgen Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti will take over and are treating Rodgers as though his sacking is a foregone conclusion. It's a far from pleasant situation, and whether there's any truth to the latest reports or not, there's only so long Fenway Sports Group can allow the situation to continue before acting.
This was always a possibility when they backed Rodgers last summer—the worst case scenario, if not an entirely unlikely one. That he would get off to a poor start; that his side would continue to show many of the flaws of last season. That the fans would begin to turn and that the media would treat him as something of a shambling zombie waiting to be put out of his and the club's misery.
It may come tomorrow. It may come in a week or two months. But it seems increasingly certain that the end is coming, and whenever it does, it will be a sad day for Liverpool Football Club. Another setback, another failed rebuild, and the hope that what comes next is better—for the club and the fans and for Rodgers, too, wherever he ends up—than this last miserable year.