Brendan Rodgers was fired as Liverpool manager yesterday, paying the price for the club’s 18-month slump since almost ending their long wait for an English league title. Liverpool’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, chose the day of the Merseyside derby against fierce rivals Everton to announce that Rodgers’ three-year stint at Anfield was over. About three hours after the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, Rodgers had his contract terminated. “All of us have experienced some wonderful moments with Brendan as manager and we are confident he will enjoy a long career in the game,” the FSG’s ownership group said. “Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe it provides us with the best opportunity for success on the pitch. Ambition and winning are at the heart of what we want to bring to Liverpool, and we believe this change gives us the best opportunity to deliver it.” TURNING POINT RODGERS’ REPLACEMENT Liverpool said the search for Rodgers’ replacement was under way, with much of the media speculation centering on Juergen Klopp, who is on a break from football after leaving German side Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season. The timing of the announcement caught many by surprise, but the upcoming international break means Liverpool’s next league game isn’t until October 17 – at Tottenham – giving the club two weeks to hire a replacement. Liverpool are in 10th place in the Premier League after winning three of their first eight games. Heralded as one of English football’s brightest coaches, Rodgers was hired in June 2012 to revive one of England’s biggest clubs after a period of financial and ownership problems. Initially, he proved the perfect fit. With the prolific Luis Suarez pouring in goals for the side, Liverpool launched an unexpected title challenge in the Premier League in the 2013-14 season and came up just short, finishing two points behind Manchester City in second place. Rodgers was admired for his style of football, his tactical awareness, and his insistence on giving youth – and English players – a chance. He also conducted himself well in all the engagements that came with the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in which 96 Liverpool fans died during a crush at an FA Cup semi-final. But things turned for Rodgers once Suarez left for Barcelona in July last year. With fellow striker Daniel Sturridge spending half of last season out injured, Liverpool struggled for goals and ended up finishing sixth to miss out on the Champions League. Rodgers’ gamble in signing Mario Balotelli failed, and the mercurial Italy striker was loaned to AC Milan two months ago. Liverpool was one of the biggest spenders in the Premier League this offseason, overhauling its playing group after selling Raheem Sterling to City and losing long-serving captain Steven Gerrard to the MLS. Rodgers won’t be given time to see if newcomers like Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, and Danny Ings can make a difference. Rodgers had been the second longest-serving manager in the Premier League behind Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.
targets “But the fact the stadium is approximately 400 yards from where it used to be means a lot.“But it’s certainly a new era regards the club, and from everything I’ve seen of the new stadium it is a magnificent stadium, and your hope as a Spurs supporter is that the team can settle into the stadium and continue where they left off.” gameday cracker Chris Hughton has praised Tottenham’s decision to build their new stadium on the same ground as White Hart Lane.Hughton, the Brighton manager, is a legend in north London, having spent 13 years with the Lilywhites as a player, and then a further 14 years on the club’s coaching staff. Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card 2 Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes no dice smart causal Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade gameday 2 Hughton spent the majority of his playing career with Spurs Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener However, when he takes Brighton to Spurs this season, it will not be to his old home ground of White Hart Lane, but to Tottenham’s new stadium.The north Londoners new ground, officially called the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, hosts Premier League football for the first time on September 15, when Liverpool visit, with Spurs being forced to play their one home fixture before that, against Fulham, at Wembley, the stadium they used as a temporary home last season. possible standings REVEALED ALTERED Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Aside from the fact the stadium looks different and is bigger, there will not be much change for fans on matchdays considering the ground has been developed on the location previously home to White Hart Lane, rather than in a new area of north London.And this, according to Hughton, was a good move for Spurs to make when they started discussing the building of a new home ground.“I still have my season tickets there from the time I left,” Hughton told talkSPORT, “so it’s something very close to my heart.“I think the fact the new stadium is where it is is the big difference. If you are moving a few miles down the road, it’s a little bit of a different feel. Tottenham issue immediate ban to supporter who threw cup at Kepa Latest Tottenham news Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures punished Work started on Tottenham’s new stadium during the 2016/17 season REVEALED