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Roy Curtis gives Brendan Rodgers a cutting epitaph

SoccerBy Roy Curtis
Rodgers finally sacked by Liverpool
Rodgers finally sacked by Liverpool

Given his remarkable capacity to dress things up, there must be a chance that Brendan Rodgers’ next job might be managing some Italian fashion house.

When it comes to clothing the truth in a cloak of spin, costuming fact with the most outrageous fiction, tailoring a three-piece suit from the cloth of self-pity, paranoia and woe-is-me conspiracy theory, Rodgers is without peer.

Neither Gucci nor Prada would dare to accessorise a supermodel as extravagantly as the Ulster couturier embellished reality this past week.

Rodgers outfitted his CV as if it was Kate Moss on a chic night out in Milan.

Those caught in the flightpath of his great tsunami of self-promotion could only wonder if Bill Shankly had been reincarnated with a Northern Irish accent.

Though the old Glaswegian, with that plain-speaking, slice-through-the-baloney wisdom that was his calling-card, would have cut down his anaemic successor’s embarrassing rant with one of his more withering pearls.

The one that said: “If you are first you are first; if you are second you are nothing.”

Rodgers, having spent £300m is tenth in the Premier League, yet he wishes the world to bathe his ego in magnums of Moet.

The North Korean Propaganda Ministry – which once insisted Kim Jong-Il had recorded five holes in one during a round of golf he had played in 38 under par - would baulk at some of the claims made by Liverpool’s dean of delusion.

Even Muhammad Ali might have felt the inclination to revisit his claims about being The Greatest after observing Rodgers’ peacock flourish.

With a swish of unashamed narcissism, the moonstruck Anfield coach produced his quill and proceeded to pen a love-letter addressed to himself.

It really is worth pressing the “play” button and marvelling at the festival of conceit.

First, neurosis: “There has been a frenzy to get me out of here. There is no question about that.”

Next, poetic licence: “I think I’ve shown in the early stages of my management - without being arrogant – that with a talented group of players I can compete at the top end of the league.  There are very short memories in football.”

To which a reasonable reply might be, you better hope so.

For even a goldfish might recollect that his lavishly assembled squad failed as recently as Thursday to beat a side branded “pathetic” by their own chairman after losing to the bottom team in the Swiss league only last weekend.

Only those who have succumbed to amnesia could have forgotten some of the more recent glories over which Rodgers has presided.

Stoke 6 Liverpool 1; Liverpool 1 Crystal Palace 3; Liverpool 0 West Ham 3; Hull 1 Liverpool 0; Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1.

Did we mention that mortifying, clueless FA Cup semi-final loss to Aston Villa, a performance so abjectly comical that it seemed Brendan had asked his distant relation June to devise the tactics and deliver the pre-match team-talk.

Liverpool have won one of their last eight games; they have scored more than a single goal just once in ten fixtures; they last kept a clean sheet on August 24th, all of 40 days ago. They trail Leicester and Crystal Palace in the table.

The Great Wall of China might not be a sizeable enough canvass on which to graffiti all the accusations of incompetence that can be levelled at Rodgers.

Yet still he meanders on, a river of self-absorption blissfully unaware he is flowing toward an ocean of public mirth.

“The team was eighth when I got here and we built and produced a team to excite people throughout European football that should have won the league.”

There is of course an alternate narrative.

It is the one that says Luis Suarez (signed by Kenny Dalglish after Roy Hodgson’s ground work) carried Liverpool on his back and that Rodgers has been thrashing about hopelessly since the Uruguayan’s departure.  

“I know how to manage top players and manage the group, but when you lose that or those players are not available and you have to piece it together, that takes time.  Then all the good work gets forgotten.

What good work precisely? Signing Mario Balotelli? 

Or finishing 25 points behind Chelsea last season while scoring 31 goals fewer than Manchester City and conceding more than West Ham or Stoke?

This, remember, is the first Liverpool manager since the 1950s to go three full seasons without winning a trophy.

And yet he can stick the following waffle on his pan of self-pity.

“It seems the focus has not been on what’s gone on and what we’ve been missing, but more about getting me out of the club. That’s sad.”

Perhaps because he is talking so much, he is deaf to the soundtrack of these Anfield days.

Thursday marked the third time in four games, Liverpool were booed off the pitch by supporters known for their reluctance to rebel.

But Rodgers is not to be blamed for the mood of despair, for the tactical chaos, for the transfer fumbling, for the hopeless sequence of results. 

At least not if you listen to the Gospel according to Brendan.

“I am the same man who nearly won us the league, but better.  If you give me the tools I’ll do the work.”

Liverpool’s owners FSG might reasonably counter that having armed their manager with more than a quarter of a billion quid he should surely have acquired every last tool required to build a substantial and lasting legacy.

Instead all he purchased was a set of spanners: Balotelli, Joe Alan, Iago Aspas, Fabio Borini, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi.

That six-pack of low-grade mediocrity cost a combined £79m; Real Madrid got Ronaldo for the same price.

Rodgers spent more on Adam Lallana than Manchester City did on David Silva. 

Give him long enough and Rodgers might call the Irish government and make a bid for Martin Cullen’s mothballed e-voting machines.

His ill-judged attempt to dress himself up as some wronged regent, the deluded self-depiction that presented him Shankly’s heir were a reminder of his increasingly tenuous grip on reality.

For no amount of tailoring will any longer be able to disguise the fact that Liverpool’s emperor was wearing no clothes and now, at last, he has been exposed.