EPL: Stick with Rodgers

Jose Mourinho or Juergen Klopp would not be able to do a better job at Anfield.

That was the message from Liverpool legend John Barnes, as the one-time wing wizard threw his support behind current boss Brendan Rodgers.

Together with fellow Kop idol Ian Rush, the former England star was unequivocal in his plea for Reds' fans and the club's hierarchy to back Rodgers.

The Northern Irishman has come under pressure from some quarters after his Liverpool side failed to kick on from last season's unexpected title tilt.

The Reds face an uphill task to secure Champions League football next season as they come to terms with another campaign without silverware, but speaking at the sidelines of the Standard Chartered Trophy Final at Anfield yesterday, the duo sang from the same hymn sheet.

Said Barnes: "When you say, 'Let's change the manager', (you've got to ask) 'To who?'"

"Jose Mourinho's not coming, Sir Alex Ferguson is not coming, Bill Shankly is not coming back.

"Which manager in the world that we can get can do a better job than Rodgers with the team he has?

"No one.

"If Mourinho came to Liverpool, with this team, he won't do any better than Rodgers.

"If Juergen Klopp came here, with the same players, he won't win the league, he won't finish second. He won't do a better job than Rodgers."

The 51-year-old insisted the Reds' league position is an accurate reflection of the talent within the club's ranks.

He explained: "Rodgers can't say this, but I can. Where should Liverpool finish? Fifth.

"Look at the players we have. How many of them would get into Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or Arsenal's team?


"We have to be realistic. We are living in the memory of Liverpool's past.

"When we are looking at Rodgers, we can't think we've not won the league in 25 years.

"He's been here for only about three seasons (but) he's suffering for the 20-odd years we haven't won the league."

Rush believes the team will be better next season with Rodgers at the helm.

The Welshman said: "Rodgers didn't become a bad manager in the past six months.

"For me, he is the man for the job. I wouldn't even think of replacing him.

"You can't keep chopping and changing, it doesn't work.

"Next year will be a big year for Liverpool. The young players won't be that young any more and if we get two or three players in (we'll improve)."

When asked what was the Merseyside club's biggest shortcoming this season, Rush, Liverpool's top goalscorer with 346 goals in 469 games, simply said: "A lack of goals."

The Reds have scored 49 goals in 35 Premier League matches this term, less than half of their tally of 101 in 38 games last season.

Indeed, Daniel Sturridge - who has missed much of this campaign through injury - and Luis Suarez, who left for Barcelona for £65 million ($133.1m) last June - combined for more Premier League goals last season (52) than the entire Reds team have managed this term.

Said the 53-year-old Rush: "We are in the position we are now because of a lack of goals.

"Last season with Suarez and Sturridge, we were full of goals.

"I think we've had 13 clean sheets this year, which is good, but we haven't been scoring enough.

"We have to improve on that next season."


This article was first published on May 9, 2015.
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