Liverpool: I Can't Shake The Feeling That We Should Have Picked Laudrup

Brendan Rodgers is a decent manager but doubts remain as to whether he is the right man for Liverpool. Things would surely have been better with the man in the Swansea dugout...
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Brendan Rodgers is a decent manager but doubts remain as to whether he is the right man for Liverpool. Things would surely have been better with the man in the Swansea dugout...

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I've only called for a manager's head twice in my 49 years.

Roy Hodgson - utterly woeful manager, no idea of how to manage at the top level, no rapport with the fans, no sense of man management skills, a loser at every possible level.

Graeme Souness - spoke to The Scum.

Admittedly, in his last season, I thought it was time for Rafa to go as he was making far too many mistakes, fighting the wrong battles and taking the team backwards. I still fully believe that the season that we finished second was due to the fact that Rafa's hesitation in mid-season prevented us from winning the title. Second wasn't an achievement, it was a loss.

So I'm not going to start calling for Brendan's head as some are doing. The owners have said he's there for the long haul, we should support him. The owners are giving him time; the least we can do is offer the same.

But (and I'll whisper this quietly) I can't shake the feeling as we prepare to entertain Swansea, Rodgers' previous employers, that the two managers should be in the opposite side of the dugout.

As Brendan's season lurches and shudders and jolts around, Michael Laudrup has taken over his previous charges, retained their fluid passing and added a sense of purpose to their game; given them the muscle that allowed them to dominate us in their last visit to Anfield; given them, in short, everything that we are generally missing.

Yes, we outplayed Arsenal and we outplayed Manchester City but still it remains that we are approaching the spring and we are yet to beat a team in the top half of the table. We have an alarmingly fragile defensive mentality and there appears to be no sign of improvement in this despite the fact that it has been evident since day one. Laudrup's side seems to have more backbone to them. Laudrup just appears more managerial somehow.

You could claim that it's early days; that this is a transitional season, a new manager finding his feet. That there will obviously be early blips. But AVB (who we notably disregarded early in the process of selecting the new manager) managed to shed his issues suitably early in the season.

This could be me. It could be the fact that this is the first time a Liverpool manager has been younger than I am. It could be that this is the first time that I can recall that all trace of any previous connection to Liverpool of old has been eradicated with the new arrival. Yes, Mike Marsh is coaching but Colin Pascoe is Rodgers' right hand and there's something about him that just doesn't convince. There's no bearing there, no presence, no authority. Imagine Jamie Carragher in that position; the dynamic of the management team alters immediately.

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Quite simply, I'm having trouble warming to Brendan. He hasn't convinced me yet that he's the right man to move Liverpool forward. I think we've seen glimpses of the Liverpool that we think he wants but we don't know for sure these glimpses have come with the arrival of Sturridge but he could have had Sturridge in the summer. He wasn't convinced at the time that he should sign him permanently, wanted a loan deal. He was sure that he should sign Borini permanently however. He seems equally sure at the moment that he shouldn't play him. Are we ascribing to Brendan Rodgers a vision that he doesn't actually possess? Should he have that particular a vision anyway? Is the fact that he is willing to alter his take on the team a good thing?

If this sounds confused, muddied thinking that's because it is. I've never felt this conflicted about Liverpool. At the moment it doesn't feel like it's my Liverpool anymore; feels like it's for other people but I'm not sure who. Possibly the global television audience the audience who like their training in soundbites. Possibly my thinking has been tainted by the catastrophic 'Being: Liverpool'.

One thing seems sure: Brendan Rodgers will be given more time. The owners have said so. He needs time to build his team. By the end of the season he will have had precisely four months less than Kenny Dalglish, who was sacked for finishing in a better league position than we occupy at the moment and winning a Cup. If Brendan is to be afforded more time by the owners to bring the job that he has started to fruition, why was Dalglish not offered the same luxury?

Rodgers has benefitted from a Steven Gerrard who has been able to play every minute of every league game and a Luis Suárez who hasn't incurred a lengthy ban. Remember also that Dalglish's only full season was affected greatly by the simultaneous loss of Lucas, Agger and Adam (who, although much maligned was more influential than many admit). Indeed, it's Dalglish's signings Henderson and Downing who are now coming good in their second season that are possibly impressing most of late.

From that it's equally valid to argue that Allen, Borini, Assaidi will come good in their second season and that this genuinely is a period of transition; a learning curve.

I just can't shake the feeling though that whoever the alternative may be, a retained Dalglish, a disregarded AVB, an unconsulted Rafael Benítez or the visiting Laudrup we may just have the wrong manager.

I genuinely want Brendan Rodgers to come good. I genuinely want to feel a connection to the manager of Liverpool Football Club, it's something that I've felt with every other manager since I attended my first game in 1970 but it's not there at the moment.

Brendan Rodgers is obviously under no obligation to prove anything to me but if he feels that he needs to prove anything to the greater mass of Liverpool fans then putting out a team on Sunday that can create chances, that can finish chances, has the mental strength and resilience to remain solid in defence throughout the entire 90 minutes, can entertain, excite and thrill, can instil belief and can finally defeat a team above us in the league, even if the fact that that team lies in seventh and is Swansea shows how far we have to come back, would be a start.