Rodgers or Ayre: Why one has to leave Liverpool after disastrous start

Liverpool have blown a major chance to kick on, so who should be held accountable?

Liverpool's woeful start to the season should not be taken lightly. It's no use Brendan Rodgers promising the club will be back in the Champions League next year, he is kidding himself if he thinks it is assured.

The Reds have blown a major chance to re-establish themselves among Europe's elite, and as the firm fixture in the Premier League top four they once were.

Last season was sensational, but the real work began in the summer, when the club had Champions League football to boast of for the first time in five years.

And they have blown it.

Selling Luis Suarez was a huge dent in their aspirations, but the £75 million they received was spent, and poorly.

For years Liverpool fans have complained they have been unable to attract top talents because they were not in the top four - last season they had Champions League football, and what did they do? They signed Europa League players.

Their reward? Europa League football. And don't underestimate what a tough break this is for their prospects for the rest of the season.

Total elimination would have been better, but instead the Reds face the Thursday-Sunday fixtures in a less prestigious competition which has so badly undermined Tottenham in recent years.

What's more, their transfer plans for this January have been damaged. Instead of being able to sell themselves to signings as being one of the last 16 in the Champions League, Liverpool can only offer Europa League football, and can no longer represent themselves as a club who are guaranteed to be on an upwards trend.

Liverpool had one transfer window to get it right, and they did not, and it could be hugely damaging, at a time when rivals Manchester United and Arsenal are unconvincing, they should have been going toe-to-toe with Chelsea for the title.

As for who pays the price, it has to be one of manager Brendan Rodgers or managing director Ian Ayre. The responsibility is shared, and a club of Liverpool's stature should not take the failure lightly.

Rodgers perhaps deserves some leeway thanks to the sensational displays last season, but it is his own lack of ambition, or pulling power in the transfer market which has prevented the club moving forward.

Ayre is the man who tried and failed last January to clinch signings of Mohamed Salah and Yevhen Konoplyanka - who knows if just one of them would have tipped the title in their favour. He cannot dodge responsibility for this summer's failures either.

Liverpool are depressingly facing the reset button on the Rodgers project, and their best chance of success really comes if they finish outside the Europa League spots this season, and can focus on the Premier League solely in 2015/16, for this campaign it already seems a long shot.

With Steven Gerrard still to be replaced and a number of under performing signings, that's a long time to reflect, and a long wait until they return to the Chamions League. 

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