From “sensational” training ground performances, to getting carried away and talking up the chance of a second place finish, Brendan Rodgers needs to stop setting himself and his players up for a fall.
Brendan Rodgers likes to talk. He talks a lot. That’s not necessarily a problem – after all, talking is part of his job (an increasingly bigger part in modern football). The problem is the hyperbole that he delivers on a weekly basis is helping nobody, not himself and certainly not the young players he overly lavishes praise upon.
Every manager says things that annoy supporters, and every manager has quotes that come back to haunt them, but Brendan Rodgers is making a habit of saying things that very quickly backfire.
I’ve regularly defended Rodgers this season when fans have criticised him on social media for talking about certain subjects, pointing out that that’s how questions work, the manager is paid to give answers in press conferences. He answers what he is asked.
The problem is he talks too much and gets carried away when things are going well.
In recent months we’ve heard Rodgers tell us how his new look Liverpool side would have fared so much better in the Champions League than the one dumped out after just one win in six back in December. “If we were in it now with this group and the confidence we’re showing and the way of working then we would have had a chance,” he claimed.
Liverpool were dumped out of the Europa League a week later, at the first attempt, by Besiktas – having scored one goal (a penalty) in 210 minutes.
More recently, buoyed by his side’s win over Manchester City and a scrappy win at former club Swansea, Rodgers got carried away again and talked up the chances of his side not only finishing in the top four, but targeting second place. Two defeats in a row in crucial games against Man United and Arsenal ended those brief hopes.
Not long after that we were told how 18-year-old winger Jordon Ibe, who had been the only arrival for the club in January after returning from loan at Derby County, had been “sensational” in training following his return from injury. Was this intended to make Ibe feel good about himself? Did it have the adverse effect and put pressure on him? Either way, he had a pretty ineffective hour against Newcastle, as you might expect after six weeks out and a handful of Premier League appearances to his name.
The question perhaps is whether the players even believe such praise, given that they witness Rodgers telling the media how sensational Rickie Lambert has been in training (working tirelessly is usually the claim), then given the last two minutes as a cameo appearance when the side runs out of ideas and Rodgers abandons his much lauded philosophy to go long to the target man. After a while, surely these statements become a bit hollow?
The latest hyperbole from Rodgers was his claim that Steven Gerrard was “excellent” during the dismal display against Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final. Who is he trying to kid? We all clearly appreciate Gerrard for everything he has done for the club, but we’re not daft enough to let sentimentality cloud our judgement. There aren’t many I know who didn’t think Gerrard was Liverpool’s worst player on the day. I doubt you’ll find anybody who watched that game who agreed with Rodgers’ claim.
Brendan Rodgers thought Gerrard was, “excellent today.” I realise that he’s obliged to back his captain, but Christ…
— Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) April 19, 2015
It’s annoying when managers turn into spin doctors and blow more hot air than a politician. What next, that Dejan Lovren’s braindead decision to shoot form 35-yards when we had Villa penned in their own box after a rare spell of pressure in the final stages was a good idea? As good an idea as spending £20 million on him last summer was.
We all knew Hodgson was talking crap when he claimed a famous victory at Bolton or that a 2-0 defeat in the derby was the best performance of the season. Rodgers is talking from The Book of Roy when claiming Gerrard was excellent. He wasn’t. Why say he was? What is that going to do other than piss off the fans who are already annoyed at such an inept display in another big game? He doesn’t have to knock him when he’s down, but he doesn’t have to make such a ridiculous claim either. Gerrard won’t believe him, he’ll know he wasn’t “excellent”.
It’s fine making big statements if you can deliver them, these last few months (or more) have seen Rodgers fail to deliver any of the big claims he’s made.
It’s good to talk, but just stop with the hyperbole.