24 May 2015

Liverpool 1-6 Stoke

Diouf 22' 26'
Walters 30'
Adam 42'
Nzonzi 45'
Gerrard 72'
Crouch 80'

You always want to peak late, so it's good to see Liverpool hit the apex of embarrassment in the last match of the season. It's a fitting way to end this dismal campaign. Nice job, guys.

Liverpool's worst league loss since 1963. The first time Liverpool have conceded five goals in a single half since 1957. The first time Stoke have scored five or more goals in the Premier League. Gerrard's last match for Liverpool and it's the worst loss of Gerrard's career.

That's impressive.

There's no point in reviewing that shit show. It was a marvelous microcosm of Liverpool's season to forget. An unfamiliar formation with no recognized striker, without wide players who'd be able to get behind Liverpool's "false nine," or whatever Rodgers was attempting. Raheem Sterling left on the bench, and not used as a substitute, after this week's drama. An attack with no idea how to attack, a defense with no idea how to defend. Emre Can at right back again, the side where Stoke's first three goals came from. Six horrific goals conceded, all from open play (surprisingly), all in different manners, from tap-in rebounds to missed assignments to long range beauties to unmarked free headers.

It is fitting that Gerrard got Liverpool's second half consolation, rolling back the years by charging behind Stoke's (admittedly flat-footed) back line for Lambert's flick-on, the lone bright spot in the tire fire that is Liverpool. That is always Liverpool. That has been Liverpool for the majority of Gerrard's golden career. And then Liverpool went and conceded again, to another ex-Liverpool player.

Two months ago, I thought it impossible that Brendan Rodgers would lose his job, no matter how badly this season went. Well, since losing to Aston Villa at Wembley, having lost to United and Arsenal to finally give up on fourth a few matches before, Liverpool have won just once, against QPR, a side who had even less to play for than Liverpool. And barely won at that.

Six matches. One win, two draws, three losses. Five goals scored, 12 goals conceded, including nine in the last two matches. Liverpool simply gave up the ghost, gave up on the season, and seemingly gave up on the manager, and that's incredibly hard to forgive.

Maybe I'll feel different in the cold light of day later, but it's hard to see Rodgers hanging on to his job after that. It'll take a hell of a meeting with FSG in the coming weeks, at least. I try not to overreact after a single match but it's hard not to after that match.

Despite a seemingly stronger squad (I guess), Liverpool are currently worse off than they were at the beginning of 2012-13. When ten-man Liverpool lost 0-3 at West Brom on the first day of the season, you thought that'd be the low-water mark of Rodgers' Liverpool tenure. Nope. Not even close.

After three seasons, it feels like 2012-13 and 2014-15 are the baseline (7th and 6th place, 61 and 62 points respectively), are the norm, and 2013-14 was a Suarez-led aberration. And that's simply unacceptable. At least in 2012-13, you could see progress, especially after the signings of Sturridge and Coutinho. But there hasn't been any progress this season; there has been the opposite of progress, for the first four months and the last two, with recurring problems evident throughout both stretches.

And that may well cost Rodgers his job.

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