It’s been tough season for the former Swansea boss since he took the reigns at Anfield last summer. I’m sure, if he’s honest, he’d have hoped and expected his first season with the Reds to be more fruitful.
They currently sit 7th in the Premier League, 5 points behind Merseyside rivals Everton and have exited the League Cup, FA Cup, and Europa League with nothing left to chase but a vague hope of a top-four finish which now looks increasingly unlikely.
“We would love to be in there and we want to finish as high as we possibly can, but it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t qualify for Europe,” said Rodgers of Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the Europa League – the continent’s second most prestigious competition.
His choice of words here is interesting: ‘it won’t be the end of the world’ doesn’t exactly encourage and inspire. I see his point – the Europa League is a long and arduous competition played on Thursday evenings that can compromise the league performance of the teams who enter into it.
“If it doesn’t happen then it could end up being a blessing for us. It could allow us to have a real strong run at the league next year and that can then really springboard us for the years going forward,” he added.
First things first, Liverpool are one of the most successful and dominant clubs in world football history. Their reputation precedes them admirably. The idea that Liverpool won’t even qualify for a European place should be out of the question. They’re better than that.
Yes, they should be aiming to qualify for the Champions League but Rodgers ought to be setting his sights a little higher. It’s been a disappointing season but it’s Rodgers who has presided over it. He couldn’t possibly convince me that he would have lowered his expectations so low when he took the job so why the change of tune now?
That’s not the attitude of winning manager, I’m afraid. There are still 6 games to play and 18 points up for grabs. It’s like he’s given up already – even if privately he has those thoughts, publicly he should be trying to foster belief in the players, and the fans. These things are often self-fulfilling prophecies – think you can do it and you might just do it.
A wise man once told me if you aim for the ceiling that’s as far as you’ll get but aim for the stars and you might just break through the ceiling. Brendan Rodgers is doing the club a disservice by lowering expectations. Perhaps failing to qualify for a European competition is okay by him, but I’m sure it’s not okay by the players, and I’m sure it’s not okay by the fans.
I would assume the board and the owner might have different ideas, considering the income generated by European football. Rodgers might want to buck up his ideas sharpish or else the club might find someone else to take them where they want and need to go.
image: © banoootah_qtr