Despite substantial regression from last season, Brendan Rodgers looks set to stay on as Liverpool manager, according to a report by ESPN.
Following the conclusion of Liverpool’s season Sunday at Stoke City, where they will attempt to maintain their 5th place position, Rodgers will hold a meeting with team executives to discuss how they can improve. The team had set a target of maintaining its Champions League position, of which it fell short.
Liverpool principal owner Fenway Sports Group has held a performance review after every season since their 2010 takeover, and that still has yet to take place, but while an evaluation of Rodgers and his job status will not take place, they will make their displeasure with the step back apparent.
There are plenty of reasons to exonerate Rodgers for this year’s finish outside the top four. Much of the blame has fallen on the loss of Luis Suarez, who at times carried the team during last year’s title run. With Suarez sold to Barcelona, the attack suffered mightily this year and the defense as a result was exposed. A few poor purchases last summer are to blame as well, with Mario Balotelli and Dejan Lovren both standing out as failures so far.
However, that does not totally acquit Rodgers from any mistakes this year. While he was largely responsible for the formational changes that led to the scorching hot 86-day unbeaten run through the new year (that probably saved his job), he also took much too long to figure out his best lineup, and the team capitulated down the stretch as well.
The report says that Rodgers’ coaching strategies will come under scrutiny at the performance evaluation, as will the scouting department that helped identify transfer targets. Along with Balotelli and Lovren, the club bought Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Emre Can, and Alberto Moreno last summer. Only Can, Moreno, and Lallana made a serious impact, while Markovic also got significant playing time mostly off the bench. Meanwhile, Lovren regressed significantly from his form last season at Southampton, Lambert was stuck behind the other strikers, and Balotelli misfired often. It even took Lallana and Can quite a while to show their true worth.