Football 3 years ago

Brendan Rodgers' £32.5m Risk

  • Brendan Rodgers' £32.5m Risk
  • Brendan Rodgers' £32.5m Risk
  • Brendan Rodgers' £32.5m Risk
Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, is the favourite among many bookies to be the first manager sacked in the 2015/16 English Premier League season. The reason Rodgers find himself under pressure is due to the disappointing campaign Liverpool endured last season. However it is not just negative results that have brought doubt over Rodgers' ability. Liverpool's poor season was further emphasised by their poor performance in the transfer market. 

After losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona at the beginning of last season, there was a large void to fill. To replace the mercurial Uruguayan Rodgers signed Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert. The criticism from both the media and football fans was immediate as they questioned; 'how do these two players fit into Liverpool's style of play?' The two are not known for intricate football, pressing, mobility, or the ability to play in a fluid system. Ultimately, the signings did not appear to make sense.

With the benefit of hindsight these critiques proved to be accurate. The two signings only scored a combined three goals in the Premier League (Balotelli 1, Lambert 2), and both were subject to harsh criticism. Currently, on the eve of the 15/16 season, there are doubts over the future of both men.

Therefore, it is strange to many that Liverpool has signed Christian Benteke from Aston Villa for £32.5m. While he is yet to play a match for Liverpool, the same questions that were directed at Lambert and Balotelli are being asked of Benteke. Nobody denies that Benteke can score goals. Since his arrival into the league there are very few that have done it better. However the way he scores his goals appears to contradict with the way Liverpool want to score theirs.

Last season Benteke scored four of his thirteen goals with his head. Aston Villa constructed all of their attacks around him, crossing or playing long-balls to the Belgian as soon as they possibly could. This will not be replicated at Liverpool who favour a possession based style with much more passing. This will require Benteke to play a vastly different role than the 'targetman' style he employed at Villa.

Balotelli and Lambert were unable to adapt to the playing style at Liverpool, and a consequence of this was that it heaped pressure onto Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers is confident that this will not be occurring with Bentkeke, "...I've heard and I've seen stuff about the style, 'he won't fit the style of how we play' - I think he'll only complement it and help us." Whether or not Rodgers is correct can only be decided once the season officially starts.

However if he is wrong, and Benteke struggles just as Lambert and Balotelli before him, this will further increase the doubts over Rodgers' ability to lead Liverpool back to being a constant top four side. The success or failure of Benteke will form a significant part of the evaluation that will occur over Brendan Rodgers' position next season. The Benteke signing is a £32.5m risk that Rodgers makes with his job the potential repercussion should it fail.


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