Betfred Sport

Uncertain times at Anfield

Brendan Rodgers has earned many admirers in his short managerial career but the next few months will prove to be his most testing.

His Liverpool side slipped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal, coming against the backdrop of a contentious transfer deadline day, highlighting the substantial task at hand.

As Arsenal succeeded at a passing game which has been 15 years in the making, Rodgers (pictured) and the Anfield crowd had to be content with plenty of effort but little quality.

They looked desperately short of options in the attacking third with only Jonjo Shelvey showing any real urgency after coming on as a substitute.

After the game, the new man at the helm admitted that he regretted allowing Andy Carroll to move on loan to West Ham, after failing to sign either Clint Dempsey or Daniel Sturridge.

He also said that re-signing Michael Owen remained a possibility. "Any player that I believe can improve the squad I will look at," stated Rodgers. "We have got a very, very small squad with some very young players in it. So I can't say no."

He continued: "There is no point in me sitting here crying about it wishing we had or we hadn't. There is no doubt the finances here had to be changed. That is the reality.

"We have lost nine players and brought in three, so, from a business side, the club has done well. What we need to do... now is look after the football business and help the players here.

"We all know we needed reinforcements and the players needed help but it's gone now and I can't do anything about it."

Open letter

Despite the board's failure in the transfer window, it's hard to argue with their new strategy of realism before excess.

Kenny Dalglish squandered the vast sums granted to him and it's understandable that owner John W. Henry is wary of repeating the same mistakes.

On Monday, the American released an open letter to fans which detailed both Fenway Sports Group's vision and backing for the manager.

Henry said: "The transfer policy was not about cutting costs. It was and will be in the future, about getting maximum value for what is spent so that we can build quality and depth.

"We are avowed proponents of Uefa's Financial Fair Play agenda that was this week reiterated by Mr Platini. Something we heartily applaud."

He added: "No-one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers, we have a talented young manager and we have valued highly his judgement about the make-up of the squad.

"This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instil his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term."

Henry's words should give Rodgers some comfort and he should be praised for not gambling the future on quick fixes.

The problem is this doesn't wash with some people. To them financial fair play only means so much when they see rivals Manchester United spending £24m on Robin van Persie and Queens Park Rangers paying huge sums in wages.

Striking the right balance 

Striking the right balance between economic sense and ambition has arguably only been achieved at Merseyside rivals Everton.

David Moyes rarely spends big but he invests wisely. Everton live within their means, ensuring future generations have a stable club to support.

Employing the same type of model at the Reds would make sense and reflect their current standing in the world of football.

They are not the powerhouse they once were and the nostalgia that surrounds Anfield, is becoming more of a hindrance than cause for motivation.

Aside from the Champions League triumph in 2005 the success dried up many years ago.

Successive managers have tried but failed to bring back the glory days of Shankly and Paisley and poor ownership from past regimes has left the club financially unstable.

It's a sign of the times that many pundits and experts, believe an upper mid-table finish is the most they can hope for.

The concern for Rodgers is whether he will be given time to implement his passing style that delivered on all fronts at Swansea.

His new philosophy needs patience from all concerned. The key to both his and the club's futures are not the rash policies of past employees but an acceptance of playing the hand they have been dealt.

By Gary Peters

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