Final 6 Games of the Season for Liverpool FC - Is Rodgers on the Firing Line?

Liverpool didn't have any answers against Aston Villa.

Was it a matter of Liverpool being "found out?"

Or was it that Villa was more motivated?

In reading various match reports, it sounds like since March 16 against Swansea, Liverpool's 3-4-3 formation magic spell over opponents has been broken. Though Swansea lost that contest 1-0, I recall post-game comments suggesting that Liverpool was lucky to get the win.

Since then:
Losses to Man U, Arsenal, Aston Villa
Wins over Blackburn, Newcastle.

Hard core fans wanted wins over Man U and Arsenal. But realistically, beating them is asking a lot. Wins over Blackburn and Newcastle continued the positive trend of beating the teams Liverpool is supposed to beat. Theoretically, on paper, Villa is a team Liverpool should beat.

Thus, losing to Villa and the manner of the defeat was troubling. It is hard to believe that Liverpool was "out motivated" but perhaps Villa manager Sherwood has got his side believing and more committed.

Tactically, there was always the question about how Gerrard could be plugged back into the team without disrupting how the team got used to playing without him. With his ill-fated entry as a substitute against Man U, this game was the first time he was back in play and it was generally felt he was rusty and ineffective. One also has to wonder if Rodgers wanted Lambert in for more offense, why wait to the 89th minute to bring him in? And there was the multiple changes in formation during the game that showed indecision probably adding to the loss of on-field confidence of the team.

Obviously, the ownership group will wait for the conclusion of the season before deciding Rodgers' fate.

The final six games include two teams in relegation battles (QPR & Hull), three mid-bottom table clubs (West Brom, Crystal Palace, Stoke), and one all but crowned EPL champion (Chelsea). Four of the matches are on the road but on paper, Liverpool should go 5 wins and 1 loss in this stretch.

If Liverpool were to take 3 losses in this stretch, the ownership group may look to sack Rodgers. Clearly, unless the team falls to a rash of injuries, they should get 4 to 5 wins over the next 6. Failure to do so would represent a failure to motivate the team which would be a firing offense. 

Another factor in the ownership group discussions is how much of the summer signings were Rodgers' doing? By all accounts, the feeling is the money was not well spent. As fans, we can only speculate how many of those players were selected at his request versus choices pressed on him by some version of soccer Sabermetrics used by the transfer committee? If Rodgers was primarily responsible for those choices then Rodgers maybe let go on that basis alone.

If Rodgers was not solely or mostly responsible for the dreadful summer signings and the team finishes in 5th place (current position), I think FSG will give him at least another year.

Can Liverpool sneak into 4th place?

Five wins gets Liverpool to 72 points. Can't see Tottenham (currently 6th) going 6-0 to leap past Liverpool going 5-1.

Arsenal is in second place with 66. They would only need 2 wins in 6 to get to 72. With the exception of games against Man U and Chelsea, they would be heavily favored in the other 4 matches.

Man U is in third with 65. They need 2 wins and a draw over the final 5 to get to 72. In 4 of the final 5, Man U would be heavily favored to win. 

Man City is in fourth with 64. They would need 2 wins and 2 draws in their last 5 matches to get to 72. Could a resurgent Villa knock them off? Might they stumble at White Hart Lane against Tottenham? Would it be too much to ask for relegation bound QPR to pull off the upset? Could the Swans give the fans at Liberty Stadium reason to sing all night long? Will Southampton cap off the unexpectedly good season with a win at Man City's home pitch?

If Liverpool were to finish sixth or seventh, the fan base will go ballistic. Many are there already!

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