FSG have not acted like the ruthless businessmen we expected them to be; by appointing Carlo Ancelotti they can show ambition that they want Liverpool FC to be back among Europe’s elite.
As we approach the 5-year anniversary of FSG purchasing Liverpool, we find ourselves in a similar situation to the one which John Henry and co. inherited back in 2010.
Five years ago, supporters urged Henry and the then-named New England Sports Ventures to fire Roy Hodgson, a manager who was clearly out of his depth, deploying negative tactics and signing players who weren’t good enough to sport the Liverbird upon their chest.
A 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby, NESV’s first game in control of the club, wasn’t enough. Nor was a 1-0 home defeat to Wolves. Eventually, it was a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers three months later.
Why the owners waited three months to do the inevitable remains baffling.
It’s a similar case now, with Brendan Rodgers’ position as Liverpool manager being seen by many as untenable from the moment his side were hammered 6-1 by Stoke City on the final day of last season – a week after a 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Steven Gerrard’s Anfield farewell.
Those two defeats, 9-2 on aggregate, to midtable opposition arrived on the back of the woeful FA Cup semi-final exit and a complete capitulation from the moment Rodgers had talked his side up as being able to potentially finish as high as second.
Since Rodgers uttered that optimistic claim, after the 1-0 win at Swansea in March, Liverpool have won just four league games; against Newcastle, QPR, Stoke and Bournemouth.
There have been claims this week that FSG aren’t planning on sacking Rodgers unless a “catastrophic set of results” change their mind.
The final 11 games of last season were a catastrophic set of results for Liverpool FC.
So too was the run of games in October – November of the same season, which saw four defeats in a row, then a 2-2 draw with European minnows, before scraping past Stoke 1-0 at Anfield.
Something else that was catastrophic was the team selection against FC Basel in December – a must-win Champions League game.
But by refusing to sack Rodgers in the summer, at a point where there was certainly reason to do so, FSG have made a rod for their own back, knowing that they would now look foolish to sack their man so soon into the new season.
We all know the stats; we’ve only scored more than one goal in two of the last 20 games; we haven’t won any of the last five; our only two victories this season have been courtesy of Coutinho’s worldie and Benteke’s offside goal; we’ve scored just five goals in seven games; we have a negative goal difference after six league games; we’re 13th in the league. These are stats that are catastrophic for a club of Liverpool’s stature and ambition.
Rodgers should have gone in the summer, and those who didn’t think so then, almost certainly think so now.
The only people still in Rodgers’ corner appear to be chief executive Ian Ayre and the mysterious FSG director Mike Gordon.
FSG must ask themselves – can they see Rodgers turning this around? It looks highly unlikely. You certainly wouldn’t bet on it and ruthless businessmen would certainly not anticipate it.
So why wait? What can be gained by waiting?
FSG missed an opportunity to consolidate a place back in the Champions League by dropping straight back out of it. Rodgers should have been told in no uncertain terms to focus solely on that last season, instead of flirting with cup success, falling short there, and that distracting from Champions League qualification.
They then missed the opportunity to get rid of Rodgers and have a fresh start in the summer.
They simply cannot afford to miss the opportunity now to bring in a proven manager that the club so desperately requires.
Carlo Ancelotti provides the experience that FSG and Liverpool as a club so desperately lack among the hierarchy.
He also provides the ability to attract top players.
A winner, experienced in the Premier League, still at an age where he has a lot to offer. He also appears to have an affection for the club and it’s supporters.
It’s an absolute no brainer. FSG can win back supporters and prove their ambition by appointing Ancelotti.