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Liverpool's Rodgers joint favourite for the sack

LONDON: You would have been hard pressed at the start of the season to find anyone to bet on Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers becoming the first Premier League manager to get the sack, but he is now the bookies’ joint favourite.

After last season’s runners-up spot, a terrible start to this season has left the Reds without a win in five games, 12th in the table, flirting with an early Champions League exit and Rodgers as low as 4/1 with one bookmaker to get the sack.

That makes him joint favourite with Harry Redknapp at bottom club Queens Park Rangers and struggling Aston Villa’s Paul Lambert.

“A few months ago I was the manager of the year, now I’m favourite to get the sack,” Rodgers was quoted as saying by the BBC. “It’s part and parcel of this wonderful life of working in football.”

Rodgers is taking the lion’s share of the criticism for Liverpool’s poor start, with serious questions being asked about his record in the transfer market, his failure to replace Luis Suarez or sign adequate back-up for the injured Daniel Sturridge.

With goals in short supply, fans are also beginning to wonder about his ability to fix a leaky defence that arguably cost them the title last season.

“All you can do is focus on the immediate job, on what you can control,” said Rodgers. “For me, it’s about working with the players, providing even more clarity in their roles and the function of the team.”

After Suarez left for Barcelona in a 75 million-pound ($117.6 million) deal, Liverpool signed nine players for 130 million pounds, including big-money deals for Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana.

Having said previously that Liverpool needed a few players of genuine quality that could improve the first team, the club seemed to embark on a transfer policy designed to swell an under-strength squad rather than fine-tune a title-challenging team with the best talent.

Their rivals took another tack. Arsenal beat them to Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, who shone at the World Cup, Manchester United recruited high-profile names like Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, while Chelsea brought in Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas.

Of those who arrived in the wake of Suarez’s departure only Rickie Lambert, signed for 4 million pounds, and Javier Manquillo, loaned from Atletico Madrid, started Wednesday’s crucial Champions League qualifier against Ludogorets.

It is a simple case of money wasted, according to former England and Manchester United great Paul Scholes.

“I go back to the signings once again,” he said in the Independent.

“They weren’t good enough. A manager lives and dies by the players he brings in, especially when someone as big as Luis Suarez leaves.” (Reuters)

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