Rodgers looks a beaten man as Liverpool limp through
As a League Two player with a ridiculous red mohican stepped up to take the decisive penalty at Anfield on Wednesday night, the future of Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was in his hands.
After 120 minutes of action that saw Liverpool fire 47 shots at the Carlisle goal and score just once, this miserable Liverpool season was in danger of taking a turn for the worse as the Capital One Cup third round tie was decided by a penalty shoot-out.
In the end, Liverpool prevailed, despite shoot-out misses from Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho, yet the celebrations to toast their success were muted after tie that finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.
It was Bastien Hery (below) who failed from the spot to break Carlisle's dream, with his ludicrous haircut adding to the circus that has become the Rodgers story at Liverpool.
Were a few Liverpool fans privately disappointed that this tortuous victory may well extend the agony of having Rodgers as their club's manager for a little longer?
It was hard to tell how Liverpool fans felt as they headed off into the Merseyside night, yet the sombre reflections of Rodgers after the came confirmed that he was in no mood to talk up his side's 'triumph'.
Rodgers' failure to show up for his post match press conference merely served to fuel the suggestions that his time is almost up at Anfield, with the man who promotes positives on the darkest of days clearly running out of excuses after this latest lamentable display.
The Irishman who so nearly guided Liverpool to Premier League title glory in the 2013/14 season now finds himself sliding towards an inevitable exit from Anfield that should have been confirmed last summer rather than in the midst of this new campaign.
Liverpool are fortunate to have out of work managerial giants Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp to target as they look to replace their manager and while his sacking will cost the Anfield club a small fortune, talks over a pay-off for Rodgers must now be close.
After their agonising win against Carlisle, Liverpool will play Bournemouth in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup in the last week of October.
Many observers will now be surprised if Rodgers is still the club's manager by then.