Liverpool v Bournemouth 17/08/2015 8PM
An Enigma? A frustrating shadow of the player he should (and could) be.
Banished to the reserves to train, along with Borini and Enrique the Liverpool manager couldn't make it any clearer where the future lies for this trio of players.
The baffling part of the whole sorry saga is why they got signed in the first place. In the case of Enrique he has put in some excellent displays punctuated with some rank ones. But his dedication to the cause can not be questioned and recent injuries have not helped his career. He deserves to be treated better.
I find some of Brendan Rodgers' man management techniques distasteful. It's not for no reason that he is likened to David Brent of “The Office” fame in some journalistic quarters. Clearly he is a talented manager but his player encouragement for those out of favour does not rank as one of his better qualities.
Ballotelli. His number is up.
Since Mancini signed him for £22m for Manchester City his value has steadily headed south. Now Liverpool can't even sell him for the £10m his value has plummeted to.
West Brom bought James Chester for less. You would have thought they could have scrabbled down the back of the sofa for the extra couple of million. Tony Pulis knows better.
Who wants a player that could be the best player on the planet but is determined to live in the shadow of the colossus he could be. The promise of something special and the reality of a life unfulfilled.
The last chance saloon? His tricks and flicks have flattered to deceive. His personal life is testament to everything a professional footballer should not be. Destined to be a talent unfulfilled. A crying shame because youngsters with a pinch of his undoubted ability would jump at the chance.
The camouflaged Bentley tells you everything you need to know. Why on earth did Brendan Rodgers allow himself to be saddled with such a liability. If anyone wanted proof that transfer committees do not work then this is it because Rodgers would surely not have gone anywhere near the player of his own accord.
And Borini? The polar opposite of Balotelli. Hard working, determined to fight for his place. His treatment is despicable particularly because he has worked with Rodgers closely in a prior life at Swansea and was the managers first signing. Mind your back. Ferguson was ruthless with players that crossed him – think Japp Stam but there is no need to leave a player to hang out to dry so publicly. It is shameful behavior.
Last seasons defeat against Stoke stank of dressing room unrest and the above is the reason why. The biggest defeat in recent memory. Knowing that you are on the end of a David Brent style dressing down is not going to boost player confidence.
Getting rid of the trusted lieutenants is a clear shot across the bows from the club owner John Henry that Rodgers better get his shit together this season.
I believe Brendan Rodgers is the right man to take Liverpool forward. He's a rough diamond and he's only 42. Show me another manager that has experience to grow into that is as accomplished as Rodgers.
He needs to make it less obvious that he is displeased with one of his own.
And so to the visit of Bournemouth.
There is too much power and guile in this Liverpool team for lesser teams to take advantage of. This is possibly the best squad of players that Rodgers has put together. Every player that has come in this transfer window has been an upgrade on the player that left.
Firminho is almost the finished player whereas the outgoing Sterling still has to grow into his shooting boots. Clyne is a major upgrade on Johnson who has faded badly in recent seasons and Benteke, for all of his detractors, is a striker of physical presence that Liverpool so badly need. If only Mr Glass could make a return up front to the starting eleven.
Liverpool are surprisingly good value to win this game at 4/9. Normally I advocate Reds fans fans to bet on the draw or the opposing team but in ths case...