The Myth of Rodgers’ Inflexibility

The Myth of Rodgers’ Inflexibility
January 31, 2013 Chris Rowland

By TTT Subscriber Jon Rushton.

On the terraces of Anfield and inside pubs all across the world, across cyberspace, Twitter and even here on The Tomkins Times, an increasingly fractious debate is taking place. 

Is Brendan Rodgers the man that will take Liverpool back up the Premier League table into the elite of club football? Or is he a promising young manager who has landed a big job that he is not ready for?

And how long should we give him in order to find out?

In truth, the opinions of the fans take a back seat to the opinions of one multi-millionaire investor. It is John Henry’s decision to take. But I would argue that the opinions of fans does hold some importance in the future of Brendan Rodgers’ reign at Anfield. 

After all – take a look towards west London, and we can see our former manager Rafa Benitez. Some questions arise: is the hostility of the Chelsea fanbase adversely affecting the club’s results? Are the Chelsea fans misjudged and ill-informed in their opinion of their current manager? Will this affect his likelihood of continuing in the job next season? I believe the answer to all these questions is ‘yes’.

That is an extreme example, but it is likely that the attitude and opinions of a club’s fanbase – as a group – has ramifications for a manager’s job security and the results that he delivers on the pitch. So the debate about Brendan Rodgers that is taking place amongst fans is an important one.

When I look at the current managerial situation at Chelsea, I cannot help but think that the fans of our rival club are being unfair. I can’t help but think they are not looking coolly and rationally at the “facts” (couldn’t resist) about their latest manager.

But it is easy for me to note that, whilst looking on dispassionately from the outside – as someone who does not really care about the success of Chelsea FC. In fact, what I have written there is somewhat of an understatement. This observation spurred me on to look at Brendan Rodgers again – and ask the question, as coolly and dispassionately as I could possibly muster:

“Are we being fair to Brendan Rodgers?”

Myth Busting

This article is looking to focus on one particular myth that has arisen around Rodgers. Clearly much of what will follow is open to debate, but I think I can make a strong case for it – and, in doing so, add something worthwhile to The Great Rodgers Debate Of 2013 (as I’ve just named it!).

In pubs, in my office and online, and specifically on this website, I’ve seen a myth emerge about Rodgers which I think needs to be questioned. It seems to be a widely and strongly held opinion from many Liverpool fans that Brendan Rodgers is inflexible – tactically, and in terms of personnel – that he is a dogmatic idealist who sees only one way to play the game, with pragmatism cast aside in the name of establishing a system.

This strongly established myth has it that Rodgers is only interested in a certain kind of player in each position, casting aside anyone who doesn’t fit the mould – and that he is sacrificing precious Premier League points by continually setting up the team in a manner for which they are not yet ready to play.

Supporters of Rodgers argue that he needs time to implement the system, and the improved results will follow. Critics look on enviously at more pragmatic managers at other clubs, suggesting we would have been in closer contention for the all-important top four place if only we had appointed a manager of less idealistic nature. They question the value of a system at all, when there are other managers out there that can simply take the current squad and get the best out of it.

All of this is built upon the myth of Rodgers The Inflexible. Rodgers The Dogmatic.

But are we being fair to him? Is this myth actually true?

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