Liverpool, Arsenal


By Mark Finlay

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has summed up what it is like to be a manager in England’s top-flight Premier League, and how you can lose your job if results don’t go your way.

“Six or seven months ago I was the manager of the year and going to be this and going to be that, tactically this and tactically that.

“And because we lost two world-class players – one out of the club and one injured – I’m useless. But I can accept that. I can take that,” he said during his weekly press conference.

The Northern Irishman is not naive enough to believe that the job comes without criticism, and feels that the manager of Liverpool’s opponents today Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger has been treated “disgracefully”.

The Reds boss brings up the incident where Wenger slipped at Lime Street station following Arsenals humiliating 5-1 defeat at Anfield last season.

The resulting video of the slip went viral on YouTube as did the abuse hurled at the Frenchman following the Gunners loss at Stoke just a couple of weeks ago.

Wenger haters also unfurled a banner at West Brom telling the Gunners boss in no uncertain terms it was time to go.

Rodgers said: “Listen, I think if you look at Arsene Wenger, he’s been a real iconic figure for football. He’s been amazing. You will be criticised when you don’t win games.

“But some of the personal stuff he takes is disgraceful – absolutely disgraceful. He’s a guy who fell over at a train station and they were videoing it and taking pictures of him.

“The other week, he was at West Brom and it was absolutely disgraceful. So as a leading figure in football, a real statesmen of the game, it was really, really poor but that’s the modern world unfortunately.”

And while Rodgers says he is tough enough to handle the negativity thrown his way he is at pains to protect his players from the headlines this season defending in particular 20-year-old Raheem Sterling.

Rodgers said: “The criticism has been unbelievable. Sterling has been getting absolutely slaughtered but the boy has been brilliant, absolutely fantastic.

“He is another kid who is going to get destroyed. He is just turned 20 years of age. He was the extra log on the fire for us last year.

“He was outstanding and this year has been very good – on his own really. Raheem doesn’t discuss his future. He is not getting too big for his boots.

“It’s not him. You should know that by now. It’s not the kid, not the boy. People ask if he is unhappy but you couldn’t see a happier guy.

“He is not into discussing deals and money and yet I read about the “greedy Sterling” but I understand the game being played.”

The Liverpool boss says he has seen signs of encouragement in the clubs last two games and says todays clash with Arsenal is seen as a must win if Liverpool wants to get their season on track.

“It’s a fair point that people are looking at us and saying that we haven’t been as dynamic as the last couple of years.

“But there are simple reasons for that. I think we’re just coming to terms with working in a different way. I have had to look at different solutions and different personnel.

“Some players used to come into Liverpool and you wouldn’t hear from them for six months, a year, and two years. They were given time to come in and develop.

“Modern players, because of the media, social media and everything, don’t get that time.”