It has been a mixed bag for Brendan Rodgers in his Liverpool career so far, and after a poor season, he faces his biggest test yet, finding solutions for complicated problems this summer.
Rewind to this time last season, Liverpool had agonizingly fallen short, for the title and finished runners-up to Manchester City. Brendan Rodgers was hailed as the best thing that could happen for Liverpool, and the Northern Irishman would have loved to kick on from last season`s title assault. What followed is a disaster by any standard. First Luis Suarez was off to Barcelona, and then the cash splurge on unproven players who were simply not up to the mark.
Raheem Sterling`s uncertain future at the club, failure to finish in the top four, Steven Gerrard`s departure from the club all adds up to his woes, and Brendan Rodgers will sure have a tough time convincing the owners that he is the right man for the job. The Liverpool manager will have to face an a end of the season meetinga with Liverpool`s principle owner John W Henry, and the last Liverpool manager to attend this meeting- Kenny Dalglish, got the sack. It would take a lot for Rodgers to convince the owners that he is the right man, and here are some of the issues that will be on the top of his agenda.
Resolve the Sterling situation as soon as possible
No player is bigger than the club. Barring Luis Suarez and Xabi Alonso, Liverpool has more or less found able replacements for marquee players who have left the club for greener pastures. Raheem Sterling and his agent have pretty much made it clear that the 20 year old wishes to move elsewhere. No one wants an unhappy player at the club and Sterling has not had a stellar season to make him a unsellablea . This saga has been happening for the past few months and in the past few days; the situation has become quite embarrassing to the club. Despite Brendan Rodgers` claims that Sterling is staying put, he might be looking at the best possible suitors. Manchester City seems to be in pole position to sign Sterling, and Rodgers would be more than happy to sell him should the rich Sheiks bid more than 40 million pounds.
Improving the squad and getting rid of the deadwood
With the Europa League in their schedule for the next season, it is important for Rodgers to improve his squad and
get rid of the current deadwood at the club. It is also important that the mistakes of not season not be repeated again this year. The transfers made last summer was one of the worst in Liverpool`s recent history. Despite having Suarez`s transfer money, the signings were mediocre. Only Emre Can and Alberto Moreno have come close to justifying their price tags.
At the moment, there are many players at the club who do not have a future and their sale should fund for new signings. It would be very tough to ship out players like Jose Enrique, who has not really contributed on the pitch than he has on social media this season. Glen Johnson has neared the end of his contract and will most certainly leaving. Fabio Borini will most likely head to Italy and going by past experiences with Italian clubs; Liverpool must make sure they sell him, instead of opting for a loan deal. Rickie Lambert`s dream move didna t quite work out and the former Southampton man will have many potential buyers in the Premier league.
Javi Manquillo`s frustrating stint, where he played second fiddle to Glen Johnson, has not quite worked out, and he might be heading back to Atletico this summer. Sebastian Coates and Iago Aspas look set to exit from Anfield, and it would be a miracle if Liverpool garner atleast 20 million pounds by selling these players.
Last but not the least, is ‘Super Mario Balotelli’. The Italian has disappointed despite being given numerous opportunites, and has hardly contributed on the pitch except for the winner against Tottenham and the goal in the Champions League against Ludogorets. Sampdoria are interested in the Italian and only a loan deal might materialise for Super Mario.
Loanees Divock Origi, Luis Alberto, Tiago Illori and the injured Joao Texeira should be back to Melwood in the summer, and based on their performances in pre-season, their futures will be decided.
Get a proper centre forward
With Daniel Sturridge`s battles with injuries becoming more prominent than his goal scoring, signing a top centre
forward should be Rodgersa priority. Signing a centre forward who actually fits in the a systema is more important. As of now, Liverpool are linked with Danny Ings, Stevan Jovetic and Charlie Austin. Not big names, but with FSG`s policy of not coughing up ridiculous amounts of wages and no Champions League football in offer, it is really tough to attract the likes of Higuain or Lacazette.
Carlos Bacca is another player who is worth the gamble. The Sevilla forward has had a very good season in the La Liga, scoring 20 goals and is fifth in the goal scorersa list. The Colombian is also in the peak of his career, and his experience in front of goal is going to be vital if Liverpool are getting back into the Champions League. The transfer committee will be very busy this season and there are going to be many names linked with Liverpool this summer.
Resolve contract situations of important players
Liverpool has lost the likes of Carragher, Agger, Suarez in the past three years and with Gerrard departing this summer, the experience of the senior players will be missed. In the current squad, only Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva have stayed at Anfield for five plus years. It is imperative to have their influence in a pretty young Liverpool squad. Skrtel, who has been Liverpool`s Mr. Consistent in the last few years, has another year left in his current contract and is currently negotiating with the club on extending his Anfield career.
Jon Flanagan, who was likened to Carragher by Luis Suarez in his autobiography, has signed a contract extension for another year. The 22 year old will be the only scouser left in the senior team after Gerrard`s departure. Flanagan`s no nonsense defending and his work rate was deeply missed and Rodgers will love to have him back from the treatment table as soon as possible. The Liverpool fans will also be glad to see Jordan Ibe signing a new contract. The England U-20 international has had a breakthrough season at Liverpool and will be an important player next season.