Liverpool don't need Klopp, they need more ambition from owners

Anfield Pitch

Serious questions need to be asked of the club's American owners FSG in the wake of FA Cup meltdown.

Predictably, Brendan Rodgers has borne the brunt of the social media outrage in the aftermath of Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final meltdown.

Tactically clueless, big-match failure and hopeless talent spotter; these are among the choice insults hurled at a manager who has become the first Anfield incumbent since the 1950s not to win a trophy in his first three years at the club.

Yes, Rodgers had a day to forget at Wembley. His tactical tinkerings misfired, the team lacked spark and once again appeared inhibited in a pressure match. Liverpool’s failings reflected badly on the Northern Irishman and his coaching staff.

But to lay the blame entirely at Rodgers’ door for Liverpool’s inability to overcome a vastly improved Aston Villa is ludicrous.

The team is paying the price for the lack of ambition from the club’s American owners Fenway Sports Group, and the disastrous recruitment of last summer. The two are not mutually exclusive.

It is still something of a mystery as to what the £70 million-plus Luis Suarez money has been spent on. Not entirely on the £117m spent on new players last summer. Much of that money came from new commercial deals and broadcasting cash generated by the Premier League’s monster television deal and Liverpool’s second-placed finish last season.

Lest it be forgotten, no club received more than the £97.5m banked by the Merseysiders from the Premier League’s distribution of TV funds.

Analysis of Liverpool’s recently-published accounts for the 2013-14 season show they posted a £0.9million pre-tax profit. For the current campaign, the profit could rise to over £50m, given the Suarez sale and the return of the Champions League gravy train.

Liverpool are in decent financial nick. Fenway Sports Group have overhauled the club’s finances following the debt-ridden final years of the Tom Hicks and George Gillett regime and invested in players while avoiding the pitfalls of Financial Fair Play.

Yet there are serious doubts as to the ambition of FSG. Knowing the club are in line for a £50m profit this season, why was the money not provided for a proper striker to replace Suarez in the final weeks of last summer’s transfer window? Why did Rodgers end up gambling on Balotelli, a punt that has hopelessly backfired? Why are Liverpool shopping solely in the second tier of the transfer window while avoiding marquee players who want marquee wages?

Rodgers has not been aided by the Liverpool ‘transfer committee’, of which he is one of six members and which is answerable to Boston-based executives. Of the seven permanent signings of last summer, only Emre Can has consistently flourished and increased his market value. The others have been either mediocre or massive let-downs.

Blaming Rodgers for all Liverpool’s ills is patently unfair. He has made a more than reasonable fist of the hands he has been dealt.

Assuming Jurgen Klopp can ride to the rescue and turn Liverpool into a consistent title challenger and trophy accumulator is to ignore the real issues.

Fingers of blame should be pointed not just at the training ground, but towards Boston.

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