Liverpool owner John W. Henry’s comments this week that former manager Kenny Dalglish would still have been sacked even had the club won the FA Cup exposes just how much pressure Brendan Rodgers is under this season.
Henry claimed the decision to fire Dalglish did not come from Liverpool’s failure to lift the FA Cup.
Instead, it was their dismal second half of the season that saw the Reds drop out of the Champions League race and scrape a Europa League spot from their Carling Cup triumph.
Liverpool were the 17th-best team in the second half of the Premier League, and numbing home losses to Wigan, West Brom and Fulham condemned them to their lowest league position since 1955.
New boss Rodgers, who joined up with the Merseyside club last month, has been given plenty of resources to restructure and rebuild a Liverpool team that grossly underperformed last term.
The belief shown by Henry stems from Swansea City’s remarkable first year in the Premier League: Rodgers steering the south Wales outfit to 11th place, against all relegation expectations.
Now at Liverpool, Rodgers’ task appears simple yet difficult to execute: get the Reds back up the league.
Any domestic or even Europa cup triumph will only be an added bonus for Rodgers and his side.
The aim at Anfield is to improve home form, score more goals and crucially take more points off lowly opposition.
Rodgers headed the underdogs all last season, but is now in charge of a side that go into every game with winning expectations.
How he will manage these will outline his future success on Merseyside, with Champions League qualification the number one priority in Henry’s eyes.
The Northern Irishman must be quick off the mark this season, or he could face the same exit door Roy Hodgson was given too early on in his Liverpool reign.
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