With Liverpool struggling to a penalty shoot-out win last night in the Capital One Cup third round against League 2 minnows Carlisle United, could time finally be running out for Brendan Rodgers?
For any Premier League team, especially one of Liverpool’s calibre, most people would put their most treasured possessions on them beating a mid table fourth tier team – and especially at home. However, despite how it looked on paper, the reds only just scraped through the tie and had to rely on penalties and the heroics of debutant keeper Adam Bogdan to see them through.
Liverpool started brightly with Danny Ings putting them ahead mid way through the first half to add to the goal he scored at the weekend. Being a goal up and dominating all aspects of the game, it should have meant laying out the formalities and wrapping up the game in clinical fashion, but in true Liverpool fashion, they were to be undone by defensive frailties. It was to be Derek Asamoah, a former Ghana international who brought Carlisle level after Liverpool’s defence backed off and allowed Alex McQueen to make a surging run from midfield and put him through on goal. After equalising and spurred on by the roar of the 6000 travelling supporters, the League 2 team produced an impeccably resolute defensive performance which was coupled with some smart saves from goalkeeper Mark Gillespie to take their five time European champion opponents the full distance. Despite a lung busting performance from the boys in blue, it wasn’t to be enough due to the heroics of Liverpool keeper Adam Bogdan, who made three impressive stops to take Liverpool through 3-2 on penalties.
For Brendan Rodgers, he would have seen the game as a chance for his team to bounce back from their weekend draw at Norwich, and so much so was he looking to build some momentum, he fielded a strong starting eleven which included ten full internationals. After such a lacklustre display and the lack of a prominent cutting edge to break down their less glorified opponents, the pressure on Rodgers is now at a all time high with an increasing number of the Anfield faithful running out of patience with Northern Irishman.
With Liverpool being linked with superstar managers Carlo Ancelotti and Jürgen Klopp in recent days, this latest unconvincing performance could spell the end of the road for the man currently in the Anfield hot seat.