EXCLUSIVE: JERMAINE JENAS: Brendan Rodgers is the right man for Liverpool but enemies are plotting against him from within

When Brendan Rodgers talks about a "campaign" to get him out of Liverpool, I have some sympathy for him. The Liverpool manager said after Saturday's win against Aston Villa that "there is a group of people that don’t want me to be here ", although he didn't name names.

I think the people he is referring to, in a subtle way, are various influential Liverpool ex-pros who have damned him - more than anything - with their silence.

When the pressure has built on Rodgers in recent weeks, he hasn't got any help. I haven't heard any of Liverpool's ex-players - and there are many distinguished names whose opinions have clout on Merseyside - coming out to defend him.

It creates a sense that people are simply sitting back and waiting for him to get the chop. If was it Kenny Dalglish, for instance, I'm sure we'd hear those familiar voices saying he needs more time, or that he's the

right man for the job. But Rodgers seems to be on his own.

It says a lot that the only person I've heard coming out in support of Rodgers in recent weeks is a rival manager - Tim Sherwood - when he said his counterpart "could be managing Real Madrid".

I believe Rodgers has done a very good job at Anfield. Some may disagree, especially with regards to his signings (although we don't knows exactly how much control he had over each one) and there's no denying that last season was a disaster. But when he had Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge at their peak, he showed what he is capable of, despite falling just short of winning the league.


Rodgers remains one of our most progressive coaches, and he has done things the right way, coming through the ranks at Chelsea, Watford and Swansea. Even if he doesn't survive at Liverpool, I can see things working out for him over the next five or 10 years, wherever hegoes. The methods he has tried to implement are modern and advanced, maybe too advanced for some.

He's not happy to sit with a certain style or formation. He's well travelled; he speaks fluent Spanish. He  could manage anywhere and communicate with all types of players, which is impressive, especially for a British manager. This is almost the next generation of manager we're talking about. Sure, signing Mario Balotelli was a howler, but it was almost as if some people couldn't wait for the Italian to fail so they could use it against Rodgers.

Liverpool Football Club is a monster, and I mean that in a positive way, but right now it's a club that can't attract - or keep - the world's best players. And replacing those players gets harder and harder. Rodgers went from Suarez and Sturridge to Balotelli and Lambert, so it's hardly surprising they weren't as successful on the pitch last season.

I don't think Rodgers's job is under immediate threat, and he has said his only detractors are "outside the club", but the problem he has is that the more that pressure builds, it is bound sooner or later to affect the players. In fact, judging by their current form it already is. They are playing like a team feeling the strain the manager is under. Even when Liverpool were 2-0 up against a struggling Villa side, they still didn't look at all convincing.

The Reds were leading that game within two minutes - the perfect opportunity to go and express themselves - but they just couldn't.

If the manager is under fire, which Rodgers clearly is, that can filter down to the squad. We had a similar situation with Martin Jol at Tottenham. He ended up essentially getting sacked at half-time of a Uefa Cup game against Getafe.

I remembering speaking to him before the game because I was carrying an injury and his face was just blank, as if he was looking right through me. In the weeks leading up to that, you could tell something had changed within him.

This didn't work: Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert struggled in attack at Liverpool
This didn't work: Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert struggled in attack at Liverpool

It was leaked in the papers that Spurs were speaking to Juande Ramos. We'd seen it, he had obviously seen it, so it was impossible to ignore. As players, we were trying to concentrate on doing our jobs - and we all liked Martin - but there's no doubt it was distracting.

There are people in and around Liverpool who could neutralise a lot of these issues for Rodgers, but they're staying silent. It was always going to be hard to fill Dalglish's shoes in terms of popularity, but it seems that no matter what Rodgers does he is fighting a losing battle because nobody likes him.

Rodgers was onto something good 18 months ago, and it all came crashing down when Suarez left and others followed. His gameplan was destroyed and he had to start again, which is not easy. The difference Sturridge made against Villa was a reminder of just how much Liverpool have been missing. Now that the England striker is back, there aren't many stronger front threes in the league than Sturridge, Coutinho and Benteke.

The least Rodgers deserves is some time with that trio playing together.

The club's owners have stood by him for now, and given him money to spend, when they could easily have sacked him at the end of last season. But what will make Liverpool even stronger is if everyone connected with the club starts pulling in the same direction.