Untenable. No other word for it. You don’t do this. No disrespect to Stoke but you don’t do this. It’s not just the loss, it’s not just the nature of the loss, it’s the way the loss serves as a punctuation mark on a slide that started when we didn’t bother turning up for the first half against United at Anfield. The end started there; presumably it ends here. On a Sunday afternoon in Stoke.
I made the call weeks ago -either here or on another site, feel free to google me should you be interested - that Brendan looked like a man who had been told that it was over. His body language screamed ‘given up’, the performances of his teams screamed ‘given up’, everything screamed ‘it’s over’.
It’s over. Completely, conclusively, definitively, over. There’s no way that Brendan Rodgers can survive this. God love him, Brendan gave us the ride of our lives last season, gave us greeting the coach, gave us pyros, gave us going the match like it used to be but he had the major advantage of having genius at his service. Now he doesn’t and he doesn’t seem to know what to do with what he has; whether he was given it or chose to get it, he doesn’t know what to do with it.
The team looked good on paper. (Paper? Let’s be honest, twitter). It looked like the most obvious 3-4-3 ever. Coutinho as a false nine, Gerrard on the right, Lallana on the left. The return of the diamond? Are you sure about this? A 4-4-2 diamond with NO forwards of any description on the pitch? With the two at the top being midfielders, with one of them being a pretty slow midfielder? With Emre Can - NOT a right back, we KNOW he’s not a right back - at right back? Seriously Brendan? Is this a suicide note?
Yes. Yes it is. It’s a mess. It’s a god awful holy mess. It’s the lowest moment in a series of low moments. It’s the worst Liverpool performance in my lifetime. I’m 51 years old. THAT is the worst that Liverpool have played in my entire lifetime. 5-0 down at half time. To Stoke. That’s unforgivable.
Emre Can. Poor, poor, Emre Can. Shredded for the first goal, shredded for the second goal, an ASSIST for the third but not his fault. Not really. He’s not a right back; he’s done a fine job on the right of a three man centre back line but he’s not a right back. WE all know that; Brendan, it seems, doesn’t. So he gets ripped apart and then he gets dragged off and Kolo Toure is the answer. Toure and Ibe for Can and Moreno and we’re three at the back now and we’ve gone 3-1-4-2 and still neither of those two are forwards; Gerrard’s one of them and Coutinho’s another and Lallana’s a right winger and we’ve got midfielders all over the place and none of them are were they’re supposed to be but we do slightly better, we only concede one more and we score one. Steven gets his last ever Liverpool goal, gets it from open play away at Stoke and it doesn’t even count as a consolation.
Have the team stopped playing for the manager? I don’t care. Play for your captain. Play for that lad who’s leaving. Do right by him.
And this, this disgrace, this embarrassment, this pathetic shambles that ends the season isn’t a Liverpool that I recognise. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know what it’s doing but it’s not Liverpool. Liverpool don’t do this. Not this. Not lose like this, not show no fight at all, not lack courage and defiance to this extent. Whatever this is, Liverpool don’t do it.
And that’s how it ends. Not with a bang, barely even with a whimper, it just kind of falls apart and the season’s over and it doesn’t look like that’s all. There’s no way that Brendan Rodgers can survive this. We’re twenty four hours later and he’s still - somehow, somehow - in a job and murmurings are being made about dismissing him not even being an option. Chelsea sacked Avram Grant in the tunnels at Goodison for not winning the league, Real have sacked Carlo Ancelotti - that’s CARLO ANCELOTTI - for not winning the league, FSG sacked Dalglish for finishing eighth, getting to two cup finals and winning a trophy after eighteen months in charge. Brendan’s had three years and not won anything. And that shouldn’t matter so much, there should still be goodwill after last season’s sheer joy but this? This collapse over the last two months, this surrender, this six-one that stands as evidence of how far we’ve fallen, how wrong we’ve become, this should be the moment that demands change.