Liverpool’s alarming decline sees Brendan Rodgers facing his toughest task yet

The Anfield club travel to Ludogorets searching for a win to kickstart their season

Brendan Rodgers “drenched and despondent” during Liverpool’s defeat at Crystal Palace. Photograph: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

Brendan Rodgers “drenched and despondent” during Liverpool’s defeat at Crystal Palace. Photograph: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

 

May 12th, LMA manager of the year award in hand, Brendan Rodgers thanked his peers for their recognition but admitted:

“I was hoping I’d be on the open-top bus tonight.”

On Sunday, drenched and despondent after another calamity at Crystal Palace, he openly admitted being vulnerable to the sack. From bus parades to talk of a taxi for Rodgers in 195 days; his fortunes reflect the speed of Liverpool’s disintegration with alarming precision.

Not in jeopardy

LiverpoolFenway SportsPremier League

However, as Rodgers conceded after the 3-1 loss at Selhurst Park, 18 months’ progress does not buy immunity from a P45. Four successive defeats for the first time since October 2009, as many league defeats as in the whole of last season and one anaemic display after another provide disturbing signposts. A total of 14 points from 12 matches represents their worst start since taking 13 from 12 under Graeme Souness in 1992-93.

The Liverpool manager had not got back to Merseyside before reports linking Jurgen Klopp with his job appeared. Both Rodgers and FSG have long championed Borussia Dortmund as the template for Liverpool to follow and Rodgers is realistic enough to know only he can silence the speculation.

Equally, FSG is unlikely to ignore Klopp’s overtures about wanting to coach in England should Liverpool’s decline continue – and this is a club that will be out of the Champions League tomorrow should they lose to Ludogorets Razgrad.

Loss of strikers

Luis Suarez

It defies belief that the club never signed a suitable replacement for the Uruguayan when they must have known he was leaving once he signed a contract containing a clear exit route last December. Sturridge’s poor injury record has not suddenly appeared. As part of a transfer committee at Anfield, albeit the only member who confronts the wrath of supporters directly, Rodgers shares that responsibility.

The title collapse, Suarez’s departure, Sturridge’s injuries and the elusive quest for leaders and defensive resilience has left Liverpool brittle. Restoring belief among his charges, supporters and possibly employers alike is only part of the task now confronting the reigning LMA manager of the year. Guardian Service

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