The victory over Morecambe in the FA Cup third round hasn’t toned down the pressure on Frank Lampard with plenty of rumours still swirling regarding his job as Chelsea manager.
After a run of one win in six games, the Blues have tumbled from top of the pile in the Premier League all the way down to ninth, level on points with Aston Villa having played two games more and three points behind Southampton in the standings.
The 4-0 FA Cup win provided some light relief for Lampard, with reports emerging after the 3-1 loss to Manchester City seven days before that the club had lined up potential replacements should they decide to part ways with their former midfielder.
On Wednesday, German journalist Bild’s Christian Falk put some names to that list.
Former Paris Saint-Germain chief Thomas Tuchel is on the list, alongside Massimiliano Allegri, who is currently out-of-work after leaving Juventus. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers , Ralph Hasenhuttl of Southampton and RB Leipzig chief Julian Nagelsmann are the other trio to make up the five.
Rodgers’ name is an interesting one considering his previous links with Chelsea when he was making his way through the ranks at the club, earning a glowing reputation as a coach between 2004 and 2008 in his roles with the club’s under-18s and reserves teams.
Rodgers was never keen to be a number two to a manager, he always wanted to be the number one which was why he remained with the academy setup at Chelsea.
But those bridges were burned when Rodgers took the helm at Liverpool in 2012 following the departure of Kenny Dalglish, a move that was endorsed by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho who had promoted Rodgers to reserve team manager while at Chelsea.
Rodgers took Victor Moses, then of Chelsea, to Merseyside on-loan and came up with the soundbite that irked many within the walls of Stamford Bridge and Cobham.
“It’s not easy when you come to a big club,” he told the Liverpool Echo back in 2014.
“You come from a really good club like Chelsea to a massive club like Liverpool, where there is expectancy every day.”
That didn’t go down well.
When he was manager at Swansea City in the Championship he directed another barb towards his former employers.
“There is so much going for Chelsea, it’s a terrific club,” he said.
“But you can’t continue doing what they do and have success. It does not work.
“The next manager who goes in there will have the same problems and issues. It’s a big job and demanding job — that’s how it is at the big clubs and that’s why the salaries are so high.”
Seemingly those words have not been forgotten, as explored by a report from The Athletic.
While at Swansea, Chelsea were not impressed with his treatment of midfielder Josh MacEachran, who had been loaned to the Welsh side.
That said, Rodgers’ stock has risen since his time at Liverpool when he went to Celtic and won seven successive trophies. Not forgetting that his Liverpool team blew their best chance of the Premier League title with a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in 2014 at Anfield before they eventually broke their hoodoo in 2020.
While north of the border, Chelsea loaned him a player in 2018, Charley Musonda, who barely played. Another irk.
Not that it seemed to bother Rodgers who was on a one-man crusade to dominate the Scottish game with The Hoops as he navigated the team to an astonishing 63 domestic games unbeaten.
In February 2019, the Premier League came calling again after Leicester City sacked Claude Puel and Rodgers was named as his replacement.
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In his first full season with the Foxes, Rodgers qualified for the Europa League but only after they ended the season poorly following the first national lockdown – they were in second place and chasing a top four finish before falling off the wagon in a big way.
He’s had a strong start to 2020/21 as well with the Foxes currently occupying fourth spot in the standings heading into their fixture with Southampton on Saturday.
The Northern Irishman recently signed a new contract at the King Power Stadium until 2025 so it would cost a pretty penny for anyone to get him out of his deal in the Midlands.
His name is consistently linked with big managerial jobs in the Premier League but a return to Chelsea, should Roman Abramovich decide to wield the axe, is unlikely.