Choosing potential over pedigree has backfired on Rodgers
Reds have bought too many duds and too few successes
Even the most sympathetic examination of Brendan Rodgers' transfer record leads to only one conclusion.
The Liverpool manager should have been sacked already.
Seventeen players turned up in the Anfield dressing room in the last two years, but those who turned up on the pitch could be counted on one hand.
Even Rodgers' successes come with an asterisk.
Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge are about the best signings the Northern Irishman has made.
Simon Mignolet appears solid between the sticks now, but remains prone to errors of judgment.
Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho have blossomed in the back three, but Can found himself exposed on the right side by both Manchester United and Aston Villa. And that's about it.
Seventeen signings, a handful of qualified successes but a whole lot of question marks and lost causes; that's Liverpool's transfer record in the last two years. It's also a list of reasons to sack a manager.
But the reason Rodgers survives is perhaps the same reason for the clumsy purchases in the transfer market.
Money doesn't talk in the Liverpool boardroom. Moneyball does.
The Fenway Sports Group (FSG) powerbrokers imported their love of baseball and also a belief in the sport's analytical, evidence-based approach to recruitment.
Put simply, they believe that the traditional coaching philosophy of a grizzly coach having a nose for potential, an eye for talent and a stomach for battle was old hat.
They advocated a numbers game. The statisticians took over Anfield.
Rumour has it that Oussama Assaidi was signed for £3 million ($6m) from Heerenveen for no other reason than a Liverpool stats man crunched numbers with owner John Henry.
Rodgers didn't want Assaidi and scarcely played him, shipping him out to Stoke before flogging him to Al-Ahli Dubai earlier this year. Samed Yesil, Luis Alberto and Javier Manquillo were similarly short-sighted deals.
Rodgers sits on the transfer committee with chief executive Ian Ayre, Dave Fallows, the head of recruitment, chief scout Barry Hunter, Michael Edwards, the director of technical performance and FSG investor Mike Gordon.
He's one voice on a committee where the overriding direction is cheaper, youthful potential over established, expensive pedigree.
It's a noble, prudent initiative, but utterly unworkable for an EPL club with top-four aspirations. Moneyball made for a fascinating movie with Brad Pitt, but the concept has flooded a proud club with struggling kids and bland mediocrity.
Tiago Ilori and Divock Origi may prove to be enlightened signings once they return from their loan spells, but Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto, Lazar Markovic, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana were either overawed or out of their depth.
And when the transfer committee allowed Rodgers to buy greater experience, he took a couple of preposterous gambles. AC Milan are still giggling at the £16m banked for the irredeemable Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert's endearing Cinderella story left Rodgers looking like a pumpkin.
Both strikers are off in what promises to be a British summer of discontent for Liverpool's dressing room. Anfield anticipates an exodus on a biblical scale.
Take a deep breath and consider the contenders for culling.
Balotelli, Lambert, Aspas, Alberto, Samed Yesil, Fabio Borini, Kolo Toure, Javier Manquillo and even Lovren and Markovic all failed to meet expectations.
Steven Gerrard will trot out to The Star-Spangled Banner next season and Glen Johnson, Brad Jones, Brad Smith and Jon Flanagan are out of contract.
Based on this season, none of the above would be particularly missed. That's 15 players. That's farcical.
A second overhaul in as many seasons is debilitating. The American owners believe their pursuit of youth and potential guarantees long-term stability, but it causes only uncertainty in the instant gratification reality of the EPL.
At the very least, Liverpool urgently require a centre back, a couple of fullbacks, a defensive midfielder, a wide man and a pair of strikers.
The club have been linked to James Milner, Memphis Depay, Sami Khedira and Danny Ings.
Each footballer offers an upgrade on existing personnel, but they all contradict the Fenway philosophy.
At 29, Milner is too old and Khedira and Depay are too expensive. Ings is the most viable option, but not a leading candidate in a race for silverware.
So the next transfer window is a test of both Rodgers' credentials and Fenway's recruitment strategy.
Liverpool's spending model must be less like the Kardashians.
Splashing the cash on lots of pretty young things hasn't worked.
As Chelsea demonstrated, buying half a dozen prospects doesn't compare with signing a couple of established heavyweights.
Moneyball works as a movie, but not on Merseyside.
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1 Buying rubbish
If Brendan Rodgers had a say in the transfer dealings, he should never be trusted with a chequebook again.
If he didn't, then Reds fans must question his weak position at the club.
2 Poor discipline
How many times has a Jose Mourinho player ever made a fool of himself on Twitter?
Mario Balotelli appears to have a free pass. What would happen to a Mourinho player (Raheem Sterling) who tried to hold the club to ransom in a TV interview?
No one knows. It's never happened.
3 Striking disaster
At the weekend, Chelsea were without both Diego Costa and Loic Remy. They still beat Manchester United 1-0.
Rodgers has bemoaned his injury misfortunes all season long, but he's always referring to one striker - Daniel Sturridge.
He had two transfer windows to bolster the bench. He brought in Balotelli and Rickie Lambert and rarely picks either.He didn't pick up anyone in January. He's paying the price now.
4 Stopping Sterling
The Englishman remains an exciting 20-year-old prospect. He has excelled intermittently, but hasn't done anywhere near enough to justify the hype, the pay rise or the main striking role.
And yet he keeps getting his own way, perhaps out of necessity, but Rodgers has lost a power battle with a teenager.
5 Project nonsense
Rodgers likes business-speak. He speaks of grand plans and long-term projects, but here's the reality check.
This season, nine players came in and nine players went out. Expect a similar number to leave the club after this campaign with just as many arriving in the opposite direction.
That's not a long-term project. That's an unmitigated mess, a revolving door filled with poor signings and unwanted rejects. There's no direction. The alleged project is in disarray.
6 Tactically naive
Rodgers works wonders on the training ground. Players from Liverpool and his previous clubs speak glowingly of his abilities with promising talent. He nurtures young footballers, which is an obvious coaching asset.
But in the pressure cooker of big match-days, he wilts on too many occasions. There's no shame in being out-witted by Mourinho and Louis van Gaal, but to be out-thought by Tim Sherwood is humiliating.
7 Gerrard joke
Pick him. Drop him. Offer a new contract. Or sell him. Rodgers had four choices for Steven Gerrard and fluffed them all.
Seemingly overwhelmed by the skipper's stature, Rodgers procrastinated.
He wanted the legend, but not the player. He wanted the inspiration in the dressing room, but not the old man on the pitch.
He couldn't make up his mind until Gerrard made it for him.
At Chelsea, Frank Lampard was never in any doubt about his future, so he left.
But Rodgers blundered on and on, turning the Gerrard issue into a ball and chain.