Who goes first - Truss, Gerrard or Rodgers?

Published: Monday, 17 October 2022

Now this is going to be an interesting race. At the time of writing Liz Truss is still in post and I guess she’s the favourite to leave first - but don’t rule out Gerrard or Rodgers beating her to the line.

They’re both in big trouble now. I’m reading that Gerrard has two games to save his job. And it’s not the first time I’ve read that this season. Unless something dramatic happens now I’m told it’s over for him at a Villa Park.

If that’s the case I’m genuinely sorry that it didn’t work out. I hope it still does. I’ve always believed that we need players like Gerrard to continue their careers in coaching once they’ve hung their boots up. We can’t give our game up entirely to school teachers. So I admired Gerrard for giving it a go.

I mentioned in an earlier blog how I believed his fall-out with Mings had set the pattern for the season. He handled his decision to drop Mings really badly. I said at the time - if he’d called him into his office in May and told him to find a club I think most people would’ve understood that. It wouldve given the big fella time to sort himself out with another club. With the World Cup coming this is a big season for Mings and he obviously felt that he couldn’t sit on the bench for the first three months at Villa. As things have turned out, Mings has had games but Gerrard gave himself a problem he didn’t need when he embarrassed his captain on the opening day - although he was quick to defend Mings after his howler v Chelsea, but the damage to his relationship with Mings - and in the dressing room - had been done.

I also mentioned in that earlier blog that I’d heard his players didn’t like his rigid system. They complain that it’s too narrow - that they’ve got players better suited to width - but Gerrard has made his mind up that he wants his system in the club’s DNA and unlike our hapless PM - he’s not for turning. So be it. But perhaps a change wouldn’t be a bad idea?

I’d like to see him smile more. To get his players smiling. To make going to work fun. Maybe he does when he’s at the training ground - but I never feel there’s any warmth at the club. Big Ron was a master at embracing fans and making them feel good about their club. Steven struggles in that respect. But perhaps he’s like King Kenny. Dalglish has never shown his true personality to the cameras. He’s a funny man  He loves a laugh. Maybe Gerrard does too but I want him to show us that he does.

That Rodgers is under pressure is a disgrace really. And he was right to object to press suggestions post match v Palace that he was only in post because a massive severance package was protecting him. That’s nobody’s business except his and the clubs.

We know Rodgers is a good coach. And if it ends at Leicester he’ll get another good one. I’m not sure Gerrard will. Certainly not one that he would want. And the at would be a pity. It makes all the talk about Villa being his stepping stone to an Anfield return all the more ridiculous doesn’t it? There are no certainties in football.

And so to a 45-minute stormer at Anfield. I really enjoyed the second half, but I’ve got a few questions.

I thought Antony Taylor did really well. I liked the fact that he was prepared to let so much go. The game was better for it - so why didn’t Darren England, in VAR,  realise that? Why did he get involved and disallowing City’s goal? The foul Haaland was adjudged to have committed was nowhere near as bad as half a dozen others that Taylor let go. There was no need for VAR to intervene. Oh - why was the monitor half way down the tunnel?

If VAR had ruled the goal out because the ball was kicked from Alisson’s hand I would’ve agreed with that. He clearly had one hand on the ball as he came out - and the ball was on the playing surface. The law states that the keeper is in control of the ball when that’s the case. Alisson clearly made that point to the ref and he was right.

Klopp has got to be careful. I can understand why he was so angry after Salah and Silva went at it, but you can’t attack an official the way he did. We’ve got all sorts of problems with discipline in grassroots football at the moment and it’s plain wrong for someone of Klopp’s profile to behave the way he did. The FA would be setting a good example if they charged him further.

On that subject - what is Ashley Williams doing sitting in a MOTD studio? I’m sure you’ve all read the story. Ok - innocent until proven guilty - but he shouldn’t be working on tv until we know one way or the other.

Why was the Leeds game help up for 38 minutes whilst they fixed the technology? Does no-one care about paying fans in the stadium? Are we so reliant on technology now that we can’t play a game without it? What a joke. And don’t tell me that it was needed to sort out the mess at the end. I was watching 3500 miles away and could see that Bamford instigated that trouble. And that Gabriel’s response was petulant not violent. All it needed was for the officials to do their jobs properly.

As it did at Fulham. If Haaland was adjudged to have committed a foul in the build up to City’s goal, what about Ream’s pull on Fredericks? That’s a pen. It stopped Fredericks getting the ball. ‘Ah’ say VAR. ‘Ream let go’. So? What absolute nonsense. So did Haaland. The little tug affected Fredericks gate. He would’ve got the ball. The reason no-one is talking about it is because it happened in a game between Fulham and Bournemouth.

There was an assault in the West Ham game! Perraud is all over Soucek at an early corner. It’s a pen. Why didn’t VAR see it? David Moyes was right - get yourselves to Specsavers. I don’t mind the Saints goal being given, but Peter Bankes got himself into a really bad position in the build-up. He should know better.

Newcastle should’ve had a pen at Old Trafford. Wilson is fouled by Varane, who makes no attempt to play the ball. Pen. Simple. Again - what were they doing in VAR? And I don’t agree with Alan Shearer that Sancho dived. He got caught. Yes - he collapsed too dramatically, but there was contact.

So don’t get too carried away Mike Dean. One way and another this weekend was as bad as it’s been. If only the VAR trucks would fail more regularly and we could truly get our game back.