The fallout from Liverpool's shock loss to Oldham continues, with Brendan Rodgers dominating today's back pages with his very public haranguing of his players.
Here's what he had to say: "It hurts deeply and it makes things clear – we need a group that’s hungry in every single game.
“If they don’t have that hunger, they will find themselves playing in League One and regretting the opportunity they missed.
“Oldham may not have been a big game for one or two of them, but they will learn quickly they have to have the right mentality for every single game, because if they don’t, they won’t be here – it’s as simple as that.
“They are a talented group, but let us be clear . . we don’t have world-class young players."
Of course nobody expects him to come out and say the club has world class youngsters - such comments after a defeat would make him a laughing stock. But to draw attention to his squad's weaknesses, and risk undermining the confidence of unproven players is risky business.
Rodgers is clearly testing his players, trying to get a reaction out of them, and shock the young footballers out of their comfort zone. In today's football world players become rich before they have made it big, and only the truly motivated make it, regardless of talent.
Modern football is no place for shrinking violets, with the world of accessibility via Twitter players must possess broad shoulders and learn to cope with criticism. Perhaps they don't expect such public floggings from their own manager, but they are getting crash course right now in what they can handle.
If they can come through it, then absolutely they will become better players, if they can't then Rodgers has weeded them out quickly and the chances are they wouldn't have made it anyway.
Where fans apparently have issue, is with Rodgers criticism of his players masks his own failings. Youngsters are easy targets - Why not criticise his own big money buys Joe Allen and Fabio Borini who started against Oldham and failed to produce, and what about his tactics. As one Liverpool fan put it yesterday - 'Rodgers tactics were the principal reason Liverpool lost to the League One strugglers.'
It is a stance which could not have been more different to his predecessor Kenny Dalglish.
It's well-documented how King Kenny backed Luis Suarez to the hilt through 'Suarez-gate', but he was just as stoic in defence of his underperforming players last season.
Here's what he had to say just last March, shortly before his fateful sacking as Liverpool boss, with his players in the middle of a Premier League slump:
"These players have done fantastically well and if anyone is going to come in they will have to be a hell of a player to do better than what (this group) has done. These boys are in pole position and they are sitting there comfortable; not one of them can be disappointed with what they have contributed this season. We are not going to be sharp to get rid of anyone."
It's clear now and it was clear then that Dalglish was papering over the cracks, his big money signings were letting him down, and have continued to fall short since, and that's the ones who weren't moved on last summer.
Yet Dalglish was simply trying to alleviate pressure on his players, and put it all on himself instead- Jose Mourinho liked to do the same. Unlike Rodgers, he had nothing to prove, and didn't mind the media on his back - in fact it was clear he embraced the fight.
He was trying to give his players 100 per cent confidence, what he would say in private is another matter, but he made sure in public he would not write them off.
Different strategies will work better with different sets of players. Dalglish clearly didn't have much luck defending his flops as they continued woefully. Whether Rodgers has any more luck remains to be seen, but it is a risky game, and some may see it as a little callous considering the age of some of those he has seen fit to so publicly criticise.
Whether it works, the jury remains out. It's over to the players now.
Which approach are you more comfortable with a Liverpool manager using? Was Rodgers right to be so critical?
image: © bernard-chan