Brendan Rodgers: The Walking Contradiction

The staff here at Every Day is Zlatan Day are proud to present our latest project: #BrendanWeek with a daily post all this week dedicated to Liverpool’s umm… eccentric manager. The man, the myth, the legend himself (just ask him). Whether it’s been his run-ins with other managers or the incessant myth making he creates with every press conference, or even the Hitler like celebrations he busts out on the touchlines, every facet of Brendan is hopefully covered. We hope that you enjoy it.

Politicians and football managers are very much alike. They lie, flip flop, make promises and dismiss them rather than fulfilling them. Fact checkers dissect a ton of quotes. Well, guess what? I dissected a handful of fantastic Brendan Rodgers quotes, starting with this glorious quote. From The Guardian:

“You are not a 20-year-old boy and you pick up the phone and ask to speak to the BBC”

After Arsenal’s 4-1 eradication of Liverpool, every bookmaker known to man started having an unadulterated field day trying to lure people in on the best odds for Sterling not returning to Liverpool.

That’s Brendan Rodgers putting full blame on Sterling’s agents after Liverpool’s loss against Arsenal. Of course, he wouldn’t blame his own player publicly, because he defends the team no matter how horrible the overall team performance was. Brendan said that Liverpool dominated Arsenal for the first 15 minutes of the game before getting steamrolled. But the quote above sounds more like someone’s strict, unattachable father that doesn’t believe his kid can make it in the real world.

Because that’s what Rodgers is doing. He’s acting like an authoritative 1950s father that wants (and forcibly so) his son to walk along his father’s path. Hell, I’m 18 years old, the time in your life where you’re deemed as being old enough to be completely independent, whilst making your own decisions, because you’re officially an adult. Simply put, BR is babying Sterling.

Two things about this that are making me insane (and probably Jamie Carragher):

  1.  Why would Sterling, who’s in the midst of a media mess, want to speak with the BBC?
  2.  One does not simply call the BBC. I can’t even call my local news network.


I may be taking this a little too literal, but it’s very difficult not to take something like this literally. Brendan Rodgers would be the world’s worst spy. He’d be the guy that possesses the enemy espionage and ends up giving it to the enemy spy. From the same Guardian article:

“The only thing I will say on Raheem’s situation is anyone can see through his football development, and financial, Liverpool Football Club is the best place for him.”


In baseball free agency terms, that’s like having Scott Boras, perhaps the most prominent American sports agent, as your agent while saying, with conviction and confidence, “screw you, Scott, for not getting me the best contract, although, I just rejected Giancarlo Stanton contract money. No big deal.” Or like getting a job interview and completely throwing out the opportunity in the trash by dressing up in a wifebeater and ripped jeans.

“He has played in a number of different positions, which has improved him tactically and technically.”

When playing up front, Raheem Sterling is versatile. He’s a free roaming midfielder that can wreak havoc and can also be used as a false nine in some instances. But at wingback?

Cole highlighted this in his Brendan Week piece. Sterling had been deployed as a wingback against Manchester United, perhaps the paramount game of Liverpool’s wild season, to counteract against Louis Van Gaal’s four-in-the-back, in order to drive his transfer stock price up. Instead, it backfired.

Liverpool fans adore Rodgers’ borderline insane 3-4-2-1 formation, because the team had gone on a 13 game unbeaten streak when the tactics were implemented. But it hasn’t benefitted for Sterling in any way, shape or form, who was forced to deploy himself as a wingback on other occasions than the United game.

We at Zlatan Day don’t have access to what goes on behind closed doors, but nobody would be surprised if Sterling expressed his disdain to Rodgers for playing in a wingback role in the locker room privately. If something like that leaked, it’s miraculous that British tabloids haven’t gotten a hold of it (the Mirror would jump on that like vulnerable prey)

As a matter of fact, it’s not only Sterling that is rejecting lofty offers; a couple of other counterparts have followed suit. Jordan Henderson, heir to Stevie G’s throne, and Jon Flanagan have reportedly rejected new contracts just over a week ago. That doesn’t mean they’ve left out Liverpool from the equation, but it’s surely not an auspicious thing to hear from a Scouser’s perspective regarding the next few years.

Who can blame Sterling for trying to stand up for himself? But remember, guys, BR makes the decisions in all areas for him. Whether it’s lobbying for a new contract or calling a major news network, leave it to Brendan.

From the Telegraph:

“They don’t have to sell. You have a choice. Maybe Southampton’s objectives have changed. They were looking to be a Champions League club, I believe. They obviously wanted to change. I suppose Liverpool have taken three players but Arsenal have taken a player [defender Calum Chambers for £16m], Manchester United have taken a player [England international Luke Shaw for £27m]. There might be one or two others who leave. It’s just the way it works.”

Yes, Southampton’s objectives have changed, such as being responsible buyers and sellers and taking advantage of Rodgers’ transfer negotiation mindset. Receiving a ₤4 million high ball transfer return for a 33 year old Rickie Lambert is impressive. Adam Lallana was on the fritz in contract negotiations and once Ronald Koeman stepped in, Lallana’s hot headed demeanor took over, departed for Merseyside. Dejan Lovren, who had such a fantastic season the year before (it helped that he got coddled by playing with Jose Fonte and Morgan Schneiderlin, but that’s a story for another day), had thought his market value had tripled and hijacked Lallana’s greedy mindset during negotiations. Luke Shaw? The Saints board room knew to pull the trigger on United’s bloated £27M offer for a 19 year old England prospect. Shaw recently admitted to having a harrowing first season because of nagging injuries.

When you’re playing a 3-4-2-1, there is no way anyone will see Lambert playing as the lone man up front. When you’re playing 3-4-2-1, with three center-halves and Lovren (who has only started 17 Premier League games this season) not as one of the starters, that doesn’t seem to help either. When you’re playing 3-4-2-1, there’s a pretty big chance that traditional defenders won’t play great in the right system. Not playing great is one thing, but an expensive signing bench warming for the lion’s share of the season is, well, bad.

As for being a potential Champions League club, they were up there for the majority of the season and are almost currently there. They’re one point behind you. You’re pretty lucky to have had that 13 game unbeaten streak, Brendan, because you would have been in steaming hot water (I mean, maybe you still are, but who knows?) if you remained below the top 10, even the bottom 7.

From the Mirror:

“I think the pressure is if you’re Manchester City or Chelsea, and you’ve spent that money and you expect to win the league. That’s probably pressure. I don’t think there’s pressure on us, other than what we have from within. Look at Tottenham. If you spend more than £100 million, you expect to be challenging for the league.”

*record scratch effect*

Hindsight is a beautiful specimen. When you think of it, sports is hindsight. Immediately, when Southampton had held second place behind Chelsea, with Liverpool sitting at 12th in November, every paper (shoutout to the Mirror) dug up the most mucky dirt anyone could ever find on Rodgers (like I am right now).

Considering that Rodgers spent in excess of $100 million on transfers this past summer, (very nice job allocating the Luis Suarez transfer profits…), changing your mind by lambasting FFP and other clubs (with that oil money though!) isn’t exactly the best idea, nor did his statement bode well when Liverpool was sitting in 12th place back in November. Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman is flourishing and overachieving in his first season as the Saints skipper with suitable, successful replacements.

Brendan Rodgers will run his mouth for however long he wants. Nobody will stop him, not even Robbie Fowler, Kenny Dalglish or Jamie Carragher (well, maybe Carragher). And until then, Darren Farley will also be having a field day with Brendan impression videos. Masterful technician.

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