Despite leading Liverpool to the brink of the Premier League title in 2013-14 and improving the club’s standing since he took over at Anfield, the jury is still out on Brendan Rodgers to some degree.
The Northern Irishman has shown in his time at the Merseyside club that he has the tactical nous to change systems successfully, but the Reds have been accused of lacking consistency during his reign.
Regardless, of the pros or cons to having the former Swansea manager at the helm, there is no doubting that Rodgers has been a key facet in getting the best out of some of Liverpool’s young talent.
With the Merseyside outfit having a long and distinguished history of producing top-quality youth players to go on and excel in the first-team, taking care of the stars of tomorrow is clearly an important feature at the club.
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Rodgers must be accredited as a driving force behind the evolution of Raheem Sterling into one of the best young English players of the current generation.
The Northern Irish manager worked with the now Manchester City attacker painstakingly in training and diversified the youngster’s skill-set by using him in numerous different positions.
Despite the fact that Sterling left Anfield this summer, Rodgers must be given credit for helping the player prosper and hence delivering a lorry-load of cash at Liverpool’s door.
Of the current squad, Rodgers has shown faith in the likes of Jon Flanagan and Jordon Ibe, bringing them from the youth ranks into the first team and helping them to bed in.
Before Flanagan’s current injury woes, the versatile defender looked like a player that could feature in the Liverpool line-up for many years to come.
Ibe meanwhile possesses a similar level of explosive athleticism as Sterling and will surely be moulded into a top-level performer under his manager’s tutelage.
The latest piece of brave decision-making by Rodgers that has wholeheartedly benefitted the club is the faith he has shown in 18-year-old Joe Gomez.
Although the versatile defender is not a product of the club’s fabled youth academy, his introduction to the first team so soon after a move to Anfield as a promising player for the future must be commended.
Gomez’s signing was somewhat overlooked with the big-money acquisitions of Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke dominating the team’s news, but the former Charlton man has arguably been one of the team’s most consistent performers so far in 2015-16.
Rodgers’ brave decision to opt for the inexperienced Englishman over the likes of Alberto Moreno raised a few eyebrows but has paid dividends.
With Liverpool losing Steven Gerrard over the off-season, homegrown leaders in the next generation will surely be very desirable as the club evolves.
Although Rodgers certainly has his critics, the Northern Irishman has a proven track record of looking after and getting the best from the club’s burgeoning stars of tomorrow.