A weekend of surprises

Written by Leanne Lu

When Louis Van Gaal hired a young, ambitious man named José Mourinho as his translator in Barcelona, the last thing he would have envisaged would have been he, Mourinho and Mourinho’s own student – Brendan Rodgers – suffering Premier League disasters in the same weekend!

Last week in the EPL was full of surprises. Opening the Pandora’s box, Mourinho began the carnage as his Blues suffered their fourth defeat of the season when they were hammered 3-1by an energetic Southampton. The Saints not only beat the home side but did so playing a stylish brand of football that has become a trademark of Dutchman Ronald Koeman. Players like Graziano Pellè and Sadio Mané exposed the Blues’ insipid defense to so badly that there are rumors Mourinho has lost his dressing room. The public support from Chelsea’s board early in the week appears to be in vain considering their lack of progress since the start of the season.

Mourinho’s mentor from the 90s suffered his own heavy defeat the following day. Due to some bizarre tactical arrangements which saw Morgan Schneiderlin on the bench – with Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteigerleft to defend against a lightning quick Arsenal team instead – the Gunners scored three goals in the first 20 minutes. It was a cruel lesson for Van Gaal and one he’ll need to pay attention to in the future.

But the most disappointing of all three managers was the youngest in Rodgers – the Liverpool manager who almost led the Reds to their first ever Premier League title 19 months ago. Rodgers simply couldn’t do enough this season to avoid the sacking that had been rumoured for months. Barely one hour after the Reds drew 1-1 with Everton in an eventful Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, he learned his fate over the phone from club Chairman Mike Gordon. It is reported that the decision had actually been made after their recent draw against Norwich City and Rodger had also been informed before the derby match. While the notorious transfer committee should take part of the blame for recruiting some of the players that were not on Rodgers’ wish list, the manager still couldn’t dodge questions as to why most of his new players have under-performed since moving to Anfield or why some have been played consistently out of position.

Liverpool have now set their sights on Jürgen Klopp, who turned down the Reds offer in 2012 before they hired Rodgers. Klopp led Borussia Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga title and was runner-up as World’s Best Manager of the Year in 2012. He is famous for his “heavy metal” style of football, the music terminology he used to describe his high press and fluid attacking football. He is also known for working miracles under a very tight budget, leading Mainz and Dortmund – two clubs with small revenues – to German the title. Even Rodgers once said he wanted to “build Liverpool into a Dortmund one day”. No wonder Klopp is now front runner to succeed him at Liverpool.