Following Liverpool’s 2 – 1 defeat to Aston Villa, all hopes of an trophy to see of Steven Gerrard have ended for Liverpool. They are 7 points behind of 4th place Manchester City with a game in hand. However Champions League qualification seems unlikely for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers. As highlighted in headlines, Rodgers becomes the first manager of Liverpool to not win a trophy in his first three seasons since the 1950s. Among questions raised stands out one important question – Have Liverpool moved ahead at all?
Before we discuss Liverpool, let’s discuss Rodgers. I like Rodgers. Not that much, but yeah I do. However, one negative I find in him – His words often backfire on him. When Liverpool where on an unbeaten run, he claimed his ‘current’ team would have done much better in Europe. The next week? They get knocked out of the Europa league on penalties. Another incident, AGAIN during the team’s unbeaten run, he rallied his team to finish second. The effect? The lost two games in a row to Manchester United and Arsenal. A more recent incident? Rodger’s claimed that captain Steven Gerrard was EXCELLENT during their FA Cup defeat against Villa. With all respect to both Rodgers and Gerrard, I’m sure the performance was nothing near to excellent. His tendency to shower praise on his players, to inspire them often back fires on them. However, he did commendable work with them last season. Leading them to a very strong campaign with a second place finish, scoring 100+ goals in the league, the man surely deserves some credit for that.
Recruitment has been the problem for Liverpool this season. After letting Suarez go, no replacement was bought for a player of his calibre. Infact Liverpool bought Mario Balotelli, Fabio Borini (back from loan) and Rickie Lambert. With all respect to the men mentioned, surely they do not match Suarez’s skill and calibre. People might argue Liverpool did try to sign Alexis Sanchez for who they even offered more, but he left to Arsenal because of the influence of Arsene Wenger more than anything else. Did the signings work? No. So far only Emre Can shows promise, however when a central midfielder is playing in the back 3, you know he wasn’t signed for that purpose. Series of injuries to Daniel Sturridge further complicated problems for Liverpool.
However, the concern for this very article is if Liverpool have progressed under Brendan Rodgers or not? Two seasons under Rodger’s have surely seen an upward trend with Liverpool finishing 7th under his first season in charge. In his second season, Liverpool nearly won their 19th title with 5 points clear on the top with three games to go. They also won the most number of games in a season since 1978 – 79. They have exhibited a brand of attacking football and made it back to the Champions League after 4 seasons. Although this season has been disappointing, if they remain in the position they are, they will be playing European football next season too. Not bad eh? If consistency is the key to progress, then probably Europa League football wont be bad. At least it shows some sort of progress. From going to 7th to 2nd in one season is not small feat, and Rodger’s was the mastermind behind it. Moreover, look at the breed of players coming out of Liverpool. Sterling, Ibe, Henderson, Lallana and even Markovic. Even if these players aren’t performing well, they’ll definitely come out good. Securing good players is progress too. I’m sure everyone prefers Sterling over Downing and Lallana over Joe Cole (no disrespect intended.)
Patience is the key to success. Liverpool just need to look up the table to find inspiration. A certain club went 9 years without a trophy, continuously selling their best players and being ridiculed for their lack of silverware. Look at their current crop of players. They will feature in their second successive FA Cup final with a healthy chance to retain it. Patience is the key. Even if the club might be moving forward, the results may show a few years later. But when they do show, it comes out good. Undoubtedly, Liverpool have made progress under Rodgers, and sticking to him might be the key.