Rodgers’ transfer policy in tatters as all Liverpool signings fail
Spending over £115m on recruitment in the summer resulted in Liverpool, 11/4 chances with Coral for a repeat top four finish, crashing out of the Champions League.
They drop from Europe’s elite club competition into the Europa League and, having been trusted with such a massive amount of money, the blame in some quarters lies squarely at the door of Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.
Of the Northern Irishman’s nine summer signings, which includes Belgium forward Divock Origi, who was immediately loaned back to Lille, none can be said to have performed to their previously set standards at former clubs.
In Spanish full backs Javi Manquillo and Alberto Moreno, Rodgers captured respective La Liga and Europa League trophy winners, but both these young players have been exposed in exalted company.
Marshalling defence was supposed to be Croatia centre half Dejan Lovren, but he has failed to make the step up from Southampton. That south coast club was a concentrated source, with almost £50m sent to the St Mary’s coffers in exchange for Lovren, and England pair Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.
Neither of these former Saints heroes, synonymous with their rise from League One to the Premier League under Nigel Adkins, and then to so-nearlies in the race for Europe with current Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino in charge, have got a run in the Liverpool XI.
It’s only in the last four Premier League matches that Lambert has completed 90 minutes for his boyhood team, but the Cinderella story is more nightmare than fairytale, with two goals in 18 outings across all competitions.
Lallana, meanwhile, has been stop-start because of injury and Rodgers tinkering in an attempt to find a winning formula. His two strikes and assist are more than Serbia wideman Lazar Markovic has managed, and the ex-Benfica player is yet to make any impact an Anfield at all, other than his sending off.
German youth international midfielder Emre Can is yet to complete a full 90 minutes for the Reds, but the biggest flop of all is surely Mario Balotelli, who is yet to score a Premier League goal in Liverpool colours. Rodgers’ £16m gamble on the maverick firebrand Italian forward has left egg on his face, with a social media storm being the latest in a string of sideshows to this mercurial talent’s career.
Settling for the Europa League is certainly second best, and a distraction that may not be welcomed by the ambitious American owners of Liverpool. They have gone joint-favourites with holders Sevilla and Spurs at 12/1 to lift this trophy, but will Rodgers be given time to address this slide?
The Reds’ boss is now 5/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave.