The future looks bright for Liverpool. A club that had previously slipped into the mire during the failed reigns of Hodgson and Dalglish and whose footballing credibility has been on the wane ever since. Rodgers’ arrival was greeted with the same sense of unease that gripped the ends of previous regimes, with many quick to disregard the new incoming manager. However as the Rodgers revolution begins to take shape, will it be the Northern Irishman who gets the last laugh over his critics?
Fans of the Premier League club will be all to aware of the rocky start that Rodgers enjoyed at Anfield. Keen to develop the slick passing game that was so successful at Swansea, the Reds put in a number of Jekyll and Hyde performances in the early months. Suffering the ignominy of defeat to Oldham whilst also offering a number of scintillating attacking displays in the process. The pace of change may have been slow but the omens were good.
Criticised as a team overly dependent on Suarez and Gerrard with a soft youthful underbelly, many touted Liverpool as a team destined for also ran mediocrity.
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Perhaps many were right with Liverpool finishing in the shadow of their cross-city rivals and without the offer of European football going forward. Was this simply a transitional phase or more of the same disappointment for Liverpool?
There seems to be general agreement on the fact this season will be quite telling for the future of Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool. No Suarez for the early months and the retirement of stalwart Jamie Carragher will likely test the resolve of the new look Reds. A pre-season to bed in new players, consolidate playing style and take stock of the season past.
What can we make of Liverpool so far this season?
Clearly only a handful of games in and it difficult to prophesise about what will happen, but the signs couldn’t be better really. Top of the table with a perfect record, including a convincing victory over United, Liverpool fans have a lot to celebrate. On the face of it the three 1-0 wins may look unconvincing, but Liverpool have arguably played some of the best attacking football this season and if they were more clinical we may have seen some more emphatic score lines.
Now clearly I don’t expect Liverpool to offer up a title challenge in the immediate future, but the promise they are showing means they shouldn’t be discounted from the Champions League shakeup. Shrewd acquisitions at what I would consider reasonable prices have seen Rodgers add depth to what previously was a pretty flimsy looking squad.
Criticised for his early reliance on youngsters like Suso, Sterling and Wisdom; Rodgers now has cover that offers him much greater experience. Of course the focus remains on youth, but the likes of Aspas, Coutinho and Sturridge all offer the manager the sort of pedigree that is paramount over the course of a Premier League season.
Say what you like about the early months of Rodgers’ reign, the Northern Irishman looked out of depth and at times out of ideas. But his willingness to adapt and alter his plans whilst staying tight to his central ‘project’ has seen his side develop remarkably well over the previous 12 months. Too often managers are rightly criticised for the egotistical stubbornness, but in the case of Rodgers this just couldn’t be more wrong.
The Northern Irishman has a respect for tradition, an eye for developing youth and a hunger for sweet attack minded football. Is he about to prove a lot of people wrong?
It is important not to sensationalise things; too many fans have already decided this year will be the year for Liverpool. The reality is that the success of the Rodgers reign will be determined not this coming May but probably a couple of seasons after that. Of course this fails to chime with supporters hunger for short term gain, but I think if fans continue to afford Rodgers the faith that maybe the pundits hadn’t they could well be onto a winner here.
Will Rodgers prove his critics wrong and bring about a return to the ‘Glory Days’ for Liverpool?
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