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Roker Ramble: Rodgers Worthy Of Sympathy? Don't Be Absurd

It's hard to feel any sympathy for the man...
It's hard to feel any sympathy for the man...

Ever since the summer transfer window closed without a deadline-day arrival for Liverpool, the suggestion has been that we should all feel terribly sorry for Reds manager Brendan Rodgers.

Apparently, he was let down by his board, who allowed him to release Andy Carroll on loan to West Ham only to renege on a promise that he would be replaced. Negligence, some have called it. Betrayal, others. For most, 'incompetence' has been the cry.

I dismiss them all.

For me, any assertion that Liverpool have failed to provide anything short of total and fair backing for their manager this summer amounts to little more than a witch hunt. John Henry and the rest of the Anfield board have done nothing but pander to the quite sizeable ego of Brendan Rodgers for months.

The appointment of Rodgers in the first place was a remarkable show of faith in a man who had achieved, in real terms, no less than figures such as Tony Pulis, Steve Bruce, George Burley, Steve Coppell, and plenty others who have guided a newly-promoted club to a comfortable first season of Premier League football.

Within weeks the signing of Fabio Borini, a player who Rodgers worked with at youth level for Chelsea and had on-loan in the Championship at Swansea, had been rubber-stamped. His spell at Roma was, at times, quite effective, but there was little in it to suggest there was much value to be found in the kind of money it took to take him to Merseyside. The Liverpool board took a £10million plus gamble on their manager's judgement alone. That equates to pretty good backing in my book.

Then there was the Joe Allen affair. Granted, Allen is a fine young player who had a good season at Swansea last term during which he won many admirers. But was there a queue of people ready to pay the £15million it required to release him from his contract? With Steven Gerrard and Lucas already there, as well as last season's big-money trio of Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, and Jordan Henderson, was central midfield really an area devoid of efficient ball-playing footballers?

Yet Adam has been sold at a loss whilst also publicly thanked for going away. Downing told to retrain as a left back, a move which also serves to ridicule Jose Enrique. Jordan Henderson went from being publicly championed by Rodgers in early July to being offered to Fulham as a make-weight for Clint Dempsey in late August, and now finds himself consigned to the bench behind Jonjo Shelvey. Incredible from a manager who was recently quoted as saying "I don't like to just give up on players.'

It is quite clear that Brendan Rodgers, therefore, is not just being allowed to fashion his own team at a pretty significant cost, but also freely write-off millions in value off the club's previous investments without first showing even the merest inclination to attempt to forge them into a team. It is difficult to remember many greater gifts bestowed upon a manager by his directors. That he can still find room in amongst it to complain is quite remarkable.

But without question the biggest load of nonsense was his handling of the very player whose move has sparked these inexplicable calls for sympathy - Andy Carroll. Rodgers insists that had he known he was not going to get a replacement, he would not have allowed the former Newcastle striker to leave. I am not sure I believe him.

From the moment he arrived at Anfield, Rodgers has sought to publicly humiliate Carroll and sell him via the press. He has left him out of European squads, used Joe Cole before him whilst chasing the game at WBA on the opening day, and openly described him as 'a £35million third choice striker' where there was simply no need to do so.

From day one Carroll has been singled out and derided and looked down upon by his new manager for seemingly no other reason than because of the style of football with which he is associated. Lets not kid ourselves here - Carroll was made an example of purely to reaffirm Rodgers dedication to his precious passing game. He thought a 6'4" striker who thrived in the air to be beneath him and his philosophies. It bordered on discrimination.

His treatment of the player has been brutal and consistent, yet now we are supposed to accept that there was a meaningful role for Carroll at Liverpool this season after all and he was a valued part of the squad that needed to be replaced? Pull the other one.

In the aftermath of the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal, the 15-years of work on their system compared to Liverpool's early development of theirs was cited by Rodgers as key factor in The Gunners' being able to dominate possession of the game. Fair enough.

But lets not forget that Arsene Wenger didn't just breeze into Highbury all those years ago, instantly get rid of and write off anything that didn't fit in with his ideal philosophy, and start afresh. The iconic defensive unit of Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams, and Steve Bould, for example, wasn't discarded. It was utilized and they were all celebrating a league and cup double within two years.

The change was gradual and opportunistic. The upheaval minimal. The transition managed and managed incredibly well. But what Brendan Rodgers is doing at Liverpool right now is not football management. It is more akin to political purging.

I do genuinely hope Brendan Rodgers is a success at Liverpool. If he is, then it just may open the doors at top clubs for other emerging homegrown managerial talent. But don't feel sorry for him over the club's deadline-day blank. He has been granted all the freedom in the world to make his own bed and that is exactly what he has done. Time for him to lie in it now, comfortable or not.

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