Brendan Rodgers has insists he’ll ‘never quit’ as Liverpool manager and has launched a staunch defence of the club’s transfer committee.
The Liverpool boss has come in for some serious criticism of late after a run of four Premier League games without a win.
Despite his struggles, Rodgers insists he retains the support of the club’s owners and also feels expectations are only so high at Anfield because of his previous successes.
Rodgers also says he wants to be a manager for 1,000 games – although he admits that is unlikely to still be employed by the Anfield giants when he passes that milestone.
And Rodgers insists he is still the best man to turn around.
Asked if he ever thought he should turn his back on the high pressure job he told the Daily Mirror: “No, no. No chance. No. I want to be a manager and the target in my own mind is to get to 1,000 games.
“I would love that to be here [with Liverpool], but I’m a realist – I’ve got realism in my professional life and I know to get there you are looking at 20-odd years, and I may have another five or six jobs to do it.
“Whilst I’m here, I’ll always do the best I can.
“I’m never going to walk away because I’ll always have belief that I can improve players and make things better.”
Liverpool haven’t won a Premier League game since mid-August but entertain Aston Villa, who haven’t recorded a league victory since the opening day of the season, on Saturday.
Liverpool limped through their Capital One Cup tie with Division Two side Carlisle on penalties in midweek.
The frustrated Kop support seems to have turned against their manager, but there is also a real anger among the fan-base that Rodgers has been forced to make do with signings thrust upon him by the club’s transfer committee.
While it is clear the Reds boss wanted fewer untried gambles when replacing big-money departures such as Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling, Rodgers refuses to hide behind excuses and instead insisted he takes full responsibility for results.
He said: “The responsibility will always go with the manager – you put out the team.
“There are players here that the club signed and it’s my job to maximise what we can get out of the players and I will continue to do that.
“Of course I would say that I should be the one here that sees it through, but that’s ultimately not my decision. I think it’s one where the players understand how we want to work.
“There’s been a lot of change and we’ve lost some big, big players – both in terms of characters and quality, but that’s the nature of how it is here. There’s change and you’ve got to manage that change and do the best you can with it.”
Asked if the failure to replace top-class players with others of equal quality is behind recent results, Rodgers replied flatly: “I think that’ll be for other people to write.
“For me, as the coach or the manager, we’ll always work with the players at the club and the ones you bring in.
“What is clear, in the couple of years I’ve been here, is when we’ve had the availability of top-class players, I think I’ve proven I can build a team that plays a way of football that excites and challenges at the top end of the table.
“Obviously, we lose those players, but the new players come in and they’ve got that opportunity to go and prove they can do similar.
“My way of working is still very much the same with an extra drive to kick start it all on again.”
Rodgers also admitted winning back the trust of the fans could only be achieved one way.
Rodgers on Liverpool fans
“You do that by winning games and performing. But there are also probably supporters who were critical when we were winning as well,” said the former Swansea boss.
“So I never get too over-concerned, because when we were here and flying, there were still critics. Now we’re losing, there are still critics.
“Of course, we need to improve our level of performance. I understand that. The responsibility comes with the manager. It’s important that we can give the supporters faith in the team.”
He added: “Sixteen months ago, we nearly won the league and I was Manager of the Year. Sixteen months later, you’re not so good at your job – when you’re actually better at your job.
“I think I’ve shown what I can do when I have the tools to work, what I can deliver. So I don’t lose confidence with that.
“What I’ll always do is work with the best and give the best to the club, and if they decide they need to change I’ll totally respect that. Because this is a incredible football club that all I want to do is see it succeed – and if it isn’t with me, that’ll be for other people to decide.
“I know I’ve given everything. I’ll walk away and hopefully I’ll get into another job where I’ll get the chance to create something special.
“But my focus is still very much on the now and the now is making us the best we possibly can be.
“Hopefully that will see me here for a longer period.”
What do you think? Is the time right for Liverpool to consider other options? Who would you like to see take charge at Anfield?