The successes of Brendan Rodgers at both Swansea and briefly at Liverpool should not be overlooked. How he steered a squad with that defence to within a game of the title deserves great credit, but his transfer dealings have left a lot to be desired to say the least.
The relative success of 2013/14, albeit without a trophy, has been put down to the brilliance of Suarez by many. It seems unfair to take total credit away from Rodgers as his tactical ambition allowed a free flowing attacking game that saw the rise of Raheem Sterling as the third in the attacking triumvirate.
Rodgers the coach helped his side to within 90 minutes of an unbelievable title even with the continued misbehaviour of Suarez. The short-termism of football is not shown better than the plethora of Liverpool fans asking for Rodgers to be replaced so soon after providing a season of breath-taking attacking football and nearly their first title in over two decades.
The real criticism for Rodgers comes for much more than his brilliant 2013/14 season, but his job at managing the transfer market has been abysmal.
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Going into the 2014/15 season, Rodgers had just lost Luis Suarez for mammoth fee and was left with the chance to reinvest into a balanced squad. Unfortunately, Rodgers couldn’t live true to his comments when Tottenham were in a very similar position. Occasional patches of improved form and the loss of Daniel Sturridge for the majority of the season put a lot of pressure on Rodgers’ signings.
Adam Lallana, for instance, came into a team playing without a recognised centre forward and has only been given fleeting opportunities in a variety of systems and positions. This season has been an opportunity for Rodgers to shape Liverpool to a team in his image and regardless of excuses, he has failed in that task.
Even previous trust in his tactical ability has dropped with continued naivety towards creating a stable defence that has seen his side ship goals at an alarming rate. Not to mention the use of one of their best central midfielders as a centre-back.
Emre Can is one of the transfers that can be considered more of a success than most. This is not to say much from a manager who has signed Aspas, Alberto, Lambert and Allen. Adam Lallana certainly has the ability to succeed but regular football has been difficult to come by, whilst we all know the difficulties of Mario Balotelli and Rodgers’ bizarre attempts at man management.
In many ways, Rodgers’ biggest failings for transfers have been the lack of ambition often shown and this is starting to show in this window. Milner and Ings are perhaps shrewd additions, but unless they are the start of more ambitious signings it could be a truly underwhelming summer for the Anfield faithful.
Although the dark times of Damien Comolli were equally disappointing in the market, Liverpool’s entire transfer system has been dysfunctional for years. The bargains of Sturridge and Coutinho are often quoted in defence of this regime, but their talent was known across Europe and Rodgers’ success in their cases is again down to his coaching. As Raheem Sterling appears to be edging closer to Manchester, there may be a chance for Rodgers to redeem himself with some big investment over this summer and put right his mistakes from Borini to Kolo Toure.
Along with the small task of replacing Steven Gerrard.