After a difficult start at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers has gone from strength to strength, and has successfully guided Liverpool back into the Champions League. In fact, Rodgers was inches away from bringing the title back to Merseyside for the first time since 1990.
During his current tenure, the Northern Irishman has made some incredible changes to the squad, and the players that he has coached and signed are arguably within the ‘world class’ bracket. Most Liverpool fans will undoubtedly agree that the former Reading and Swansea boss is doing a remarkable job, however, the way in which he is doing it and his philosophy is somewhat intriguing, with some questions still needing to be answered.
One problem could well be the striker position at Anfield. Over the years Liverpool have been blessed with top attackers. Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen and Fernando Torres are just a few that have highly impressed for the Reds. However, since Rodgers took over, the key factor for the Reds is to play ‘attractive’ football. Because of this, the Northern Irishman tends not to play with a tall and strong frontman that is easily found in the box. Not long after Rodgers was brought in, Andy Carroll was quickly sold to West Ham, purely to make a statement of his vision for the club. In this summer’s transfer window, Liverpool recently signed Mario Balotelli from AC Milan and Rickie Lambert from Southampton, two big and powerful target men. So why did Rodgers sell Carroll in the first place?
Despite Carroll failing to resurrect his career at the Hammers, surely Rodgers could have got the best out of him rather than sell him to a club where he is surrounded by less talented players. Put both Lambert and Carroll together, when both strikers are fully fit, there’s not much difference between them. Balotelli was brought in to replace £75m man Luis Suarez; however, it could be argued that Balotelli will score more goals with his head than he would with his feet on his return to the Premier league.
Above all, the one key ingredient that is missing from Liverpool is silverware. It was fundamental that Rodgers brought Champions League football back to Anfield, which he achieved with great affect, however, a trophy is exactly what Liverpool need, and with Rodgers record, it seems Liverpool could still be a long way off. With their last taste of success being the League Cup in 2012 via a penalty shoot-out against Championship outfit Cardiff City, the last time the former Reading man put his hands on a trophy was the play-off final win with Swansea in 2011. It seems when the pressure is on, a Brendan Rodgers Liverpool side fail to deliver the goods. One good example of this is last season’s agonising defeat at home to Chelsea. With Jose Mourinho’s side having to deal with a plethora of suspensions and injuries, resulting in fielding a so called ‘B team’ the Blues still showed Liverpool they’re nowhere near the finished article… yet.
It’s about time Liverpool fans had a reality check. The fact that Rodgers’ philosophy has become confused during the latest transfer window means the best they can hope for is a fourth-placed finish. And even that is under threat.