Brendan Rodgers sacked by Liverpool: Details, reactions

In a surprising twist after Sunday’s Merseyside Derby ended 1-1, Liverpool have sacked Brendan Rodgers as manager.

Rodgers, who joined Liverpool as manager in June 2012, led the club to second place in the 2013-14 season. However, Rodger’s luck as manager would not last as a poor 2014-15 campaign in the domestic league and in Europe culminated in a 6-1 defeat to Stoke City at the end of last season, Liverpool’s heaviest loss in over 50 years.

Rodgers retained his job after that season, although the same can’t be said for his assistant Colin Pascoe and first-team coach Mike Marsh, but the pressure was on for him to return the team to winning ways. And he did attempt to do so, spending £80 million on seven new players this summer.

Yet splurging on players such as Christian Benteke, James Milner, and Roberto Firmino was not enough to get the team on track, and in their last nine games, Rodgers has led his side to win only one against Aston Villa last Saturday, excluding a penalty shootout victory against Carlisle United in the Capital One Cup.

This lack of wins explains why Rodgers has never lifted a cup during his time with Liverpool. However, he has had a win percentage of 51.6 over the past three and a half years, the second best of any Liverpool manager in the Premier League.

The 42-year-old Liverpool manager knew the importance of a win in this weekend’s Merseyside Derby, but in the end, his side battled it out to a stalemate. Rodgers seemed comfortable with the result, saying that overall, he was “pleased with the performance.”

He went on to say, “For me, when you are at such a huge club, you are always going to get other managers linked with your club. It’s where you are at this level.

“I have never felt anything other than secure. That is not being complacent.

“I was brought here to do a job, I signed a new deal and the owners know it takes time.

“I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever, I can honestly say that. For me, my job is to worry about the team and that’s the only pressure I will ever, ever feel.”

When asked about improvement, Rodgers responded, “I think slowly…I can definitely see us coming together more as a unit. As each game goes on, that’s becoming better.

“I think we lacked creativity at the beginning of the season, I made that clear–we needed to be more offensive whilst keeping the balance tactically defensively….

“It’s been a tough fixture list for us away from home, and apart from the Manchester United game where we were disappointing, I think we’ve looked solid and looked a threat.”

Rodgers also added that his side were still facing a lengthy rebuilding job due to losing “four real catalysts,” Jamie Carragher, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, and Steven Gerrard.

However, his press conference optimism wasn’t enough for the club. The Northern Irishman was informed of the sacking in person by Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre just an hour after leading his side to a draw with Everton. The decision was explained to him later by President Mike Gordon over the phone.

Principal Owner John W. Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, and Gordon released a joint Fenway Sports Group statement, saying, “We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Brendan Rodgers for the significant contribution he has made to the club and express our gratitude for his hard work and commitment…. The search for a new manager is underway and we hope to make an appointment in a decisive and timely manner.”

Predictably, reactions to the announcement were dramatic and diverse. Former Liverpool start Carragher said Rodgers’ track record at Liverpool was “miles off” from where it should have been and supported the decision. Graeme Sounness took it a step farther, saying, “I don’t see why they gave Brendan Rodgers the job in the first place.”

On the other hand, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expressed sympathy for Rodgers, who said, “I am always sad when this happens because I think he is a quality manager. He was very unlucky not to win the Premier League, but that is the way it goes now. I wish him good luck and I am sure he will find a job again.” Similarly, Michael Owens stated he thought Rodgers would be able to “bounce back.”

Additionally, Jamie Redknapp said, “I’m not surprised but I am a little disappointed because I like Brendan.” He went on to explain that he thought Rodgers deserved the job when he took it, but it became obvious the end was near when things started to go wrong.

Garry Monk, who played under Rodgers formerly at Swansea City, took a different stance on the subject, saying, “I can’t believe that. A very, very harsh decision. I don’t think he deserved that at all. He is a top manager. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors but I was surprised. I will speak to him at some point.” Monk went on to describe Rodgers as a mentor and a “top man.”

Twitter, of course, had their fun:

After the shock subsided, about ten minutes after the announcement, attention turned to who would take the helm at Anfield. Several names made the shortlist, but the two prime candidates were Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti.

Carragher has offered his input on the matter, opting for Klopp over Ancelotti. His reasoning is that even though Liverpool fans would be “ecstatic” over having a three-time Champions League winner managing the club, Klopp has “got more to prove” in his opinion.

Although Liverpool denied approaching to Ancelotti, according to MirrorFootball, they reached out to the former Real Madrid manager last week to sound out his interest. However, Ancelotti was reluctant to take the job at Liverpool and claims that he is in no rush to find a new job after recovering from a back operation.

It looks increasingly likely that the next manager of Liverpool will be Klopp, but since no contact was made with him prior to Rodgers’ sacking, time will have to tell.