STOKE-ON-TRENT, May 24- Brendan Rodgers conceded his job could be on the line after Liverpool suffered their biggest ever defeat in the Premier League in a humiliating 6-1 loss at Stoke.
A brace from Mame Biram Diouf plus goals from Jonathan Walters, Charlie Adam, Steven Nzonzi and Peter Crouch condemned the Reds to their worst loss since a 7-2 hammering by Tottenham in April 1963.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard netted a goal in his 750th and final appearance for his hometown club but it was scant consolation on a chastening final day of a disappointing season for Reds manager Rodgers.
When asked directly if he accepted there would be questions about his future after such a woeful display, Rodgers said: “Absolutely. I have always said if the owners want me to go, I go. It is as simple as that. But I still feel I have a lot to offer here.
“Last season when everything was working well you have the support of everyone, but performances like today do not help you. I am fully aware of that.
“There is a lot that has happened here which has made the job difficult and we have kept fighting right to the very end. But I totally understand that.
“My pride makes me want to be in this job. I love this job and I love this club and it has been a difficult season but, like I said if the owners ever say to me to go, I go.
“I want to be here but I also understand that we need to be better than we have shown in recent weeks.”
– Remorseful mood –
Rodgers experienced the full ire of the travelling supporters as he walked to the tunnel at half-time with his side 5-0 down, and he was in remorseful mood afterwards.
“To start with, it’s an apology. I think everybody, all the supporters connected with Liverpool, will – like us all – be embarrassed by that and they deserve an apology,” Rodgers said.
“This season has been a tough season, and in particular towards the end. In this period now, we’ve come up short.
“We haven’t won enough games in this last couple of months of the season, so they’ve every right to be angry and frustrated. I take full responsibility for that as the manager.
“They have every right to be angry. These supporters have been brilliant for us, particularly away from home with the support we’ve had. We can have no complaints – any of us.
“The supporters were angry at half-time and rightly so because that was awful in the first half. Absolutely awful.
“We’ve finished the season in sixth, which is where we deserve to finish. We have to now start, today, on the climb to get back up again.”
Stoke manager Mark Hughes said his players deserved the plaudits after they ended the campaign with their best Premier League points haul of 54, and the most they earned in the top flight since they finished on 57 in 1982-83.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better finish to a great season,” Hughes said.
“The level of performance in the first 45 minutes was exceptional.
“I don’t think it reflects badly on Liverpool as most teams would’ve have struggled with the quality and intensity of our play. All in all it was a really great finish to the season.
“We go as hard at the end as we do in the beginning. There was a real focus to finish on a high.
“We knew that the possibility of being beaten would be a damp squib and we didn’t want that to happen. That focus didn’t go away.”