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Could FA Cup defeat for Liverpool leave Brendan Rodgers' future in doubt?


 


Liverpool face Blackburn Rovers tonight in an FA Cup quarter final replay knowing that defeat would most likely write off their season as a failure.

Last season's Premier League runners up have endured a mixed season overall so far, with a poor start to their league campaign remedied by an unbeaten run in 2015 which was only halted by bitter rivals Manchester United last month.

That defeat, coupled with a 4-1 mauling by Arsenal at the weekend, has now left Liverpool seven points adrift of the top four, and the chances of Champions League football next season looking slim.

However, their performance in that competition this season will not be looked back on with much kindness, having gone out at the group stage, and subsequently moving down to the Europa League, where they were promptly knocked out again on penalties by Besiktas.

So with only the FA Cup realis­ti­cal­ly still within their grasp (which would likely mean beating Arsenal in the final), would success in this competition be enough to satisfy fans and the club's owners alike?

Given the club's performance in the league last season, where they narrowly missed out on the title, not retaining a top four spot will be a bitter pill to swallow for many around the club, not least because it will most likely be United who take their spot.

Earlier in the season with the side faltering, Rodgers deployed a new system with three at the back which led to their great unbeaten run, but those two defeats to their top four rivals seem to suggest their system is not without flaw.

The significance of those defeats have called for a change to a back four, with the diamond which Liverpool used so effectively last season in midfield.

But with Suarez gone, Sturridge indifferent, Sterling wrangling for a new deal, and club captain Gerrard banned, that system might not prove quite as effective with the players currently at his disposal.

It will very much be a case of 'one game at a time' for this Liverpool side, with Blackburn this evening their next priority, but should they progress, which many still expect they will, then trying to clinch a now unlikely top four finish might have to take a back seat.

Winning the FA Cup gives most managers a bit of credit in their ledger, and even without Champions League football, would give Rodgers time to reassess and rebuild after the departure of Gerrard in the summer, after all the side have already shown they are more than capable of performing without their talismanic skipper.

But a season without a trophy and a top four finish would be to most Liverpool fans unaccep­tab­le, and if there is a defeat in East Lancashire tonight, the voices of discontent might just get that little bit louder.
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