It was only a matter of time before this happened.
Brendan Rodgers gave an interview to Sky Sports yesterday in which he offered a candid perspective on his time with Liverpool.
Rodgers spent much of the interview defending himself from criticism over his signings, insisting that he did not have much of a say in what the club did in the transfer market.
“The transfer model at the club is slightly different to that of other clubs. There’s a recruitment team in place whose job it is to bring in the players.”
He went on to say that the transfer committee had a list of players they would be willing to consider, and that Rodgers could not pursue anyone not on that list. “If the player you want is not on the list you have to take someone else. For example if you want a left back, but the one you want isn’t there, you have to take the best one that’s in that group.”
Rodgers said there were a number of signings that he wanted but the club couldn’t close the deal, such as Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez and Tottenham’s Dele Alli. The Sánchez deal in particular was a difficult blow in the wake of losing Luis Suárez, and was compounded by having to settle for Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert.
Regarding Balotelli in particular: “We needed a player who could press at the top of the pitch; it wasn’t just a goalscorer we were after because Luis Suárez was giving us so much more than that. After a friendly against Milan, I was asked the question and I felt Mario wasn’t someone who suited the profile of what we were after. But come the end of the summer when we were struggling to get in the type of player we wanted, the ownership thought this was perhaps a player I could develop.”
If there’s anything surprising about the interview it’s that nothing particularly shocking came out. Most of Rodgers’ “bombshells,” from the awkwardness of dealing with the transfer committee to missing out on key signings to dealing with players he didn’t really pick himself, have been floating out there for a while now. Rodgers tried to toe the line between giving his honest opinions and remaining diplomatic toward a club he still has some affection for. Whether you believe him or not depends on how you felt about him previously, and it’s almost certain that many won’t take what he said at face value. Still, Rodgers’ interview does cast some light on a Liverpool front office that’s still trying to moneyball its way into the Champions League, and offered a glimpse of the how and why the results have been so mixed.