The sacking of Brendan Rodgers’ assistant, Colin Pascoe, and first team coach, Mike Marsh, leaves the Liverpool boss looking isolated
The term Splendid Isolationism, is used to describe Britain’s foreign policy in the 19th century. Unwilling to enter into alliances and only becoming entangled in European affairs if it was deemed necessary to do so, Britain and its empire remained free of continental affairs. However all that changed as the century drew to a close. The threat of German militarism forced Britain to ally herself with France.
Although British isolationism was self imposed, Brendan Rodgers’ has been forced upon him by John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group. While Rodgers has survived Henry’s end of season review, his assistant and first team coach have not. Rodgers now faces into the summer having to rebuild, not only his playing squad, but coaching team. While rumours of who is to replace Pascoe and Marsh have circulated in the press, the greater question is how much input Rodgers will have in their appointments. With Steven Gerrard already having departed, due to Liverpool’s reluctance to hand him a new contract last summer, and Raheem Sterling looking to leave, questions as to how much influence Rodgers retains at Liverpool must be asked. Indeed, with the talk of the infamous transfer committee, of which Rodgers is part, being broken up and replaced by a Director of Football, how much leverage will Rodgers have over future transfers?
From the outside it would seem that John Henry is removing the foundations upon which Rodgers built for himself. Henry may be removing these features before allowing a new appointment a clean slate from which to operate. Of course the question must then be asked as to why he chose not to sack Rodgers when there was an appetite for it in the stands? If Henry is to keep Rodgers, he will have to pay for it in the form of transfer funds. Liverpool will have to invest to adequately replace Gerrard and make a second attempt in supplanting Luis Suarez. The necessary resources will either have to come from Henry or raised from player sales. This leaves Rodgers in a difficult situation. If John Henry does not bankroll the club’s intended transfer intentions, it could be perceived as a lack of trust in Brendan Rodgers. Conversely, if Rodgers encourages the sale of players such as Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini, Joe Allen and Alberto Moreno, amongst others, he is in effect admitting his transfer policy has failed, consequently augmenting Henry’s faltering trust in his manager.
To date Liverpool have risked little in signing Danny Ings and James Milner. However there is no evidence to suggest that Ings has the ability to lead the line for a club attempting to compete for Champions League qualification. While Milner could be a shrewd acquisition, he does not have the skill set to replace Gerrard. Therefore Henry faces the most important decision since he took control of Liverpool. In an age where clubs are only as attractive as to the money they will spend for perspective managers, if Rodgers fails once more, then the investment FSG have made in the club would have been squandered by both the owner and the manager.
However, it may be the case that Henry has identified certain aspects in the running of the club that have hampered Rodgers management, such as the transfer committee and the delay in offering Gerrard a contract. Indeed, Rodgers has three years remaining on his current four year contract. If this is the case the owner will have to back his manger, as the cost of sacking Rodgers would be less than the value of the investment required to rebuild the squad. If he doesn’t, another season will have past where Liverpool could find themselves outside the top four. And less likely to attract the manager and players required to do so. If this were to transpire, than John Henry will find himself isolated.
Alan Drumm, pundit arena