Today (04/10/2016) marks exactly a year since Liverpool drew 1-1 at Goodison Park, with Danny Ings and Romelu Lukaku the scorers.
More significantly, that was Brendan Rodgers’ final match in charge of the Reds. The game kicked off at 1:30pm and by early evening he was sacked.
It was not as a result of the Merseyside Derby, but rather an accumulation of poor returns over the last few months.
For most, at the time, it was a shock. Despite a stuttering start to the season following on from a below-par campaign the season before – a hangover from a title challenge the previous year, perhaps – it was not anticipated that Liverpool would act so soon into the season.
Thierry Henry’s reaction on Sky Sports was an accurate description of most people’s response to the news…
One year ago today! https://t.co/Gun0SOIhcp
— FootballFanCast.com (@FootballFanCast) October 4, 2016
Within days, the shock of a departure was replaced by the shock of another, only one of a positive kind: Jurgen Klopp arrived. Rodgers was quickly forgotten.
Of course, it is easy now to laud Klopp, and rightly so, because the work he has done so far has been good, but Rodgers should be remembered fondly, too.
The last season and a bit slowly turned sour – he really should have gone during summer 2015, not a few weeks into the new season – and it is easy to focus on that decline, but previous good times should be looked back at in a positive light.
The season between 2013/14 did not land the Premier League trophy, granted, but ask any Liverpool fan which season was the most exciting and enthralling in recent memory for them, and it will be that one.
Rodgers was in charge of the best Liverpool team in recent history – although the current crop seems intent on taking that crown. It was not entirely down to Luis Suarez as so many love to suggest.
Matches, like beating Arsenal 5-1 or demolishing Everton 4-0, should not be discarded. Neither should epic victories against Manchester City (3-2) or Manchester United (0-3). Football is a form of entertainment, and Rodgers’ team certainly provided that, scoring over 100 goals over the course of the season.
Whilst a shock at the time, the decision to sack Rodgers has ultimately proven to be the correct one.
Liverpool attracted Klopp, and whilst it was ruthless to let Rodgers go, improvement has followed. Meanwhile, Rodgers rebuilds his career at boyhood club Celtic – it did not end too badly for either party.
Whilst Liverpool must look to the future and build on a promising start this season with Klopp, this one year anniversary of Rodgers’ sacking should be an opportunity to remember the good times at Anfield, and look forward to many more under the new regime.
There will, of course, be the usual undercurrent of snide comments, completely ignoring the fantastic elements of Rodgers’ tenure, but the Norther Irishman deserves better.
Liverpool were everyone’s second favourite team that season: why not focus on that instead of the demise that followed?