Brendan Rodgers – Is he the right man for Liverpool?




Once there was a team that boasted the names of Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and many more legends that ruled English football. There was a manager that changed the way the game was played – Bill Shankly. Gone are those days when that team – Liverpool FC were a team that were almost unplayable, a team that had won 18 League Titles and 4 European Titles by the end of 1990.

Brendan Rodgers – Is he the right man for Liverpool?

Brendan Rodgers – Is he the right man for Liverpool?

Liverpool have now gone 22 years without a domestic title which also means they are yet to win a Premier League title. When Liverpool won their 18th Title Manchester United had only 7 and today Manchester United have 19 League Titles and Liverpool still remain on 18, which also mean that United have won the Premier League 12 times whereas Liverpool are still on a duck.

So what happened to such a mighty team that led to such a dip in its standards?

Liverpool were a top team despite not winning a League, when Rafa Benitez took over as the manager he won the Champions League with Liverpool despite being the underdogs. He started a rebuilding process as manager and Liverpool played some of their best football in recent years under his guidance. His contribution is more than what meets the eye. He bought Spanish striker Fernando Torres and the Gerrard – Torres combination became one of the most feared attacking pair in the world. Liverpool were a side that trashed Real Madrid 5-0 on aggregate in a Champions League tie and later humiliated United 4-1 at Old Trafford which was their worst defeat at home ever (later broken by Manchester City after defeating United 6-1 at Old Trafford). Out of Liverpool’s current players the likes of Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Lucas Leiva were all players that Benitez had bought. In fact some of the youngsters currently making a breakthrough into the Liverpool team like Raheem Sterling, Suso are today here courtesy to Rafa Benitez. One of his greatest signings Xabi Alonso is now a vital part of the Real Madrid team today. Such was the quality of players Benitez bought in and the quality of football Liverpool played. He took Liverpool to another Champions League Final in 2007, but eventually lost to Milan 2-1. He even came close to winning the league after finishing 2nd to United in a close battle to the end. The season after that things started falling apart. Liverpool finished 7th. Many blamed it on the fact that they sold their key player Xabi Alonso and failed to make a proper replacement. Liverpool were taken over by Gillet and Hicks in February 2007. Under them Rafa Benitez later stated in his autobiography that he was a bank manager than a team manager. The owners failed to give him the support he wanted, they did not help him buy the players he wanted and there was a rift between them which eventually led to Benitez leaving the club on a mutual consent in 2010.

Gillet and Hicks wanted to eventually sell the club due to lack of the fans support.  Eventually after a lot of cases and appeals Liverpool were sold to their current owners The Fenway Group on October 15th 2010 for 300m pounds.

Liverpool replaced Benitez with Roy Hogdson who would eventually have the shortest tenure as Liverpool Manager. The clubs poor performance led to him being sacked midway through his first season with former manager Kenny Dalglish taking over. Dalglih’s first major challenge was to build a squad that could compete with the other teams as he was left with a very weak squad. His first major signing was Luiz Suarez from Ajax for 23m pounds. Fans expected the talented Uruguayan to form a striking partnership with Gerrard and Torres only for Torres to leave on deadline day for 50m pounds. Liverpool then bought Andy Carroll for a record fee of 35m pounds.

Dalglish was able to take the team from 12th position in the table to 6th at the end of the season. His performance gave fans hope.

The next season Dalglish bought reinforcements as he bought Stewart Downing from Aston Villa for 20m punds, the young Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for 18m pounds, along with the signings of Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam and Sebastian Coates.

The funny part that season was all signings by Hogdson except second choice goal keeper Brad Jones were sold or loaned during the transfer window.

Liverpool had a very good start to the season under King Kenny they were sometimes in the top four or just one or two points away from the spot. They had a good cup run in the first half of the season. In the quarter final stage of the season they defeated Chelsea but key player Lucas Leiva was injured and his absence eventually affected the entire team’s performance as Liverpool failed to connect between the back and the front. They dominated matches but failed to win or sometimes they would lose matches they should have won. Liverpool had the worst chance conversion ratio that season and had hit the post most number of times than any other team in Europe.

Dalglish eventually led Liverpool to League cup glory and took them to the F.A Cup Final, which they lost in a tight match with Chelsea.

His major contribution was forming a stable center back combination with Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger, the purchase of Luiz Suarez and helping Glen Johnson improve his defensive skills.

Liverpool finished eight that season and Dalglish was fired. A decision that is still difficult to absorb for many fans. Fenway group had decided they would buy a new manager and give him an extended run so that they could expect him to turn the fortunes around and a club with such a history deserves it.

Rodgers was previously assistant manager at Chelsea and had worked with the likes of Jose Mourinho. He then took over as manager of Swansea City and helped them get promoted to the Premier League thereby becoming the first Welsh side to do so.

Rodgers emphasize on possession. Something we all know from Barcelona’s football. He wants to incorporate the Tiki-Taka system. Rodgers first signing for Liverpool was Fabio Borini and rightfully so as Liverpool wanted a new striker and hopefully one that will find the back more often. He then bought in Welsh midfielder and his player from Swansea City Joe Allen. Rodgers has spoke of Allen as the “Welsh Xavi”. He then signed Moroccan winger Oussauma Assaidi. They also took Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin on loan from Real Madrid. Liverpool loaned out record signing Andy Carroll to West Ham and were expected to make a new signing to replace him and the outgoing players like Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy and Maxi Rodriguez. To the shock and disappointment of the fans there was none.

Rodger’s first match in charge was a disaster as they stumbled to a 3-0 defeat to West Brom who is being managed by Liverpool’s coach under Dalglish – Steve Clark. Liverpool stumbled really badly and are still doing what they did best the season before, fail to win matches despite dominating them which were evident in the matches against United, Everton, Newcastle or Udinese.

The one thing Rodgers has done and very well so far is that he has given the young players from the academy a bigger role in the club. Under Rodgers many players have made their debuts. Liverpool have one of the best academies in the world and Rodgers is now utilizing them.

He has now made players like Raheem Sterling, Suso and Andre Wisdom regular first team players. Players like Jack Robinson, Adam Morgan, Coady, Coates, Yesil, Pacheco have all had more first team action. Rodgers was also able to keep hold of key players like Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel despite there being interest from other clubs. Liverpool’s performance have shown that they are maybe one clinical finisher away from a return to the top.

If given the proper time and enough funds maybe he could do wonders with the team. Sometimes people wonder what if he had the same amount of money Dalglish had? Maybe he could have done wonders with Liverpool! Well that is something for the readers to ponder over!

So is Brendan Rodgers the right man for Liverpool? So far there have been some good positive indications. The way Luiz Suarez has had a change in form, the way youngsters are breaking into the first team and the way Liverpool are dominating matches. But only time will tell.

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