The Rodgers Revolution: Success, Failure And The Fine Line Between

By on April 8, 2013

As we come towards the end of what’s been another disappointing season for Liverpool FC, Damien Kelly looks at Brendan Rodgers first year in charge at Anfield.

brendan-rodgers

Being manager of Liverpool football club is a massive job, regardless of where they stand in the league; the tradition of the club still stands and the stature of the club remains. The manager in question will be scrutinised and put under a fine microscope, in every result, in every signing, in every decision he makes. The issue I find in this is that Brendan Rodgers has been made out to be both a hero and villain from one week to the next since the beginning of the season.

‘You’re only as good as you’re last game’ is a cruel footballing judgement which we fans and the media stand by religiously. The Liverpool manager has had a tough first year, for despite the football world celebrating many aspects of his tenure so far, the positives have been forgotten in favour of the negatives time after time.

After a frustrating day at Anfield on Sunday, people have once again questioned whether Rodgers is the right man to take Liverpool forward, back to the top 4, back to the Champions League. Rodgers has suffered this kind of scrutiny after several results this season where the Reds failed to take the 3 points against a ‘lesser quality’ side.

Liverpool has 65% of possession yesterday, 20 attempts, 8 on target, while West Ham fed on scraps for the duration of the game. Should Rodgers take the blame for not converting one of their chances? If Liverpool came out onto the pitch bereft of ideas, of confidence and of passion, Rodgers’ leadership should be questioned and with good reason. This was not the case against the Hammers. His team selection was good, his tactics spot on, the mentality to win was clearly evident; Allardyce and his players were up for this game, they were not there to lie down and lose a precious point.

Looking at Liverpool’s season so far, there have been very few games where the Red men were simply outclassed. Arsenal were the far superior side at Anfield in August, West Brom deserved both wins against the Reds, Stoke and Southampton both had the upper hand in their respective home fixtures without question. At the Emirates, at Stamford Bridge and at the Etihad Stadium, Liverpool were unfortunate not to grasp all 3 points in each fixture. However, many will point to the fact that they didn’t in fact clinch a victory in any of the three and forget about the game itself. ‘Football is a results game’; another classic in football language.

When Rodgers took over, there were a large quantity of players who were simply not good enough to play for the club. Both Hodgson and Dalglish had put their confidence in players who ensured that our exit from the top 4 in 2010 left us further behind in 2011 and 2012. Rodgers was efficient in ridding of the club of such players; Adam, Aqualani, Maxi, Aurelio, Carroll and Spearing to name a few.

In the early part of the season, it was refreshing to see Rodgers put trust in youth, with Shelvey, Sterling and Suso all impressing. Later in the season, we saw Rodgers transform the likes of Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing into players who he simply had to pick. If you asked any Liverpool fan last summer, they would have no qualms about wishing Henderson and Downing would be shown the door at Anfield.

It would be naive to state that today’s Liverpool has a bright future, but it is certain that there is a potential for a bright future. Regardless of impressive cup runs last season, Liverpool’s performances were getting steadily worse, many of the players were becoming more and more mediocre and the fans were frustrated that their King, Kenny Dalglish, was unable to bring the glory days back to the club.

Brendan Rodgers is far from being ‘King Brendan’, but in taking a step back and analysing Liverpool’s season as whole, it’s not as bad as some have made it out to be.

Football is a results game and let’s face it, if you play well in every single game but finish 20th, the fans will be unhappy, the owners will be angry and the club gets relegated. Liverpool will most likely finish 7th this season, between the top 4 battlers and the likes of West Brom and Swansea who have exceeded expectations.

7th place of course means little to the Kop faithful, but Liverpool’s football this season is a foundation upon which to build. With summer reinforcements, can anyone wholeheartedly deny that the Reds cannot turn the draws at the big boys into wins? Can anyone deny that those frustrating 0-0 draws at Anfield will become 1-0 victories?

One area in which Rodgers has been rightly questioned is his dealings in the transfer market during the summer. Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi. None of these three have had a bright start at the club and even though each player has youth on their side, the modern Premier League is no place for slow starters.

His January signings, Sturridge and Coutinho perhaps make up for his previous business somewhat, both having had an impact in the past few months, particularly the young Brazilian. The summer is a huge season for Mr.Rodgers; it is his summer signings which will make the difference between Liverpool challenging for the top 4 or simply another season of mediocrity.

So far, I would call his reign so far somewhat of a success. The club is not going backwards and while the move forward is only gradual, we must look at Liverpool’s performances and not just the results. The foundations have been laid, what can you build Brendan?

What do you think about Brendan Rodgers first season as Liverpool boss? Get involved in the comments section below.

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2 Comments

  1. Tony Appleton

    April 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Very well written mate. Not a Liverpool fan but I agree, a couple of promising signings and Liverpool should be knocking on the door. Need Reina to stay though, not many keepers of his quality around to replace him if he goes, but if he does…Ben Foster? Mignolet? Vorm? Are they good enough for Liverpool?

  2. Damien Kelly

    April 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Despite Reina’s errors earlier in the season, I think he is vital to Liverpool’s return to the top 4. There’s a hardly a goalkeeper in the league who hasn’t been slated for errors this season. I think Foster would be a decent replacement but hey he’s english and would surely be costly.

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