Is Brendan Rodgers the reason behind Liverpool’s recent good form?
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has had a tough time since making the switch from South Wales to Merseyside last summer. By the end of September the 39-year-old had lost 3 of his first five Premier League games, it was a far-from-ideal start.
From the outset, Rodgers has dared to implement his style of play on Liverpool with which the players were not previously familiar. Despite experiencing upsets in both the FA and Capital One Cup, Liverpool’s league form has dramatically improved within recent weeks. His side now sit in 8th place, 6 points behind city rivals Everton.
But is this due to the work of Rodgers? Or had the foundations for success already been laid months beforehand?
Ahead of his side’s 2-0 victory this evening, West Brom boss and former Liverpool assistant, Steve Clarke, claimed Kenny Dalglish is the real architect behind the club’s current form.
Clarke believes Liverpool are now the form side in the Premier League – thanks to Dalglish’s signings. His £70million spending spree on Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique and Andy Carroll was heavily criticised. However it now seems like it could be paying off.
Luis Suarez was an instant success at Anfield and has added a further 22 goals this term. Whilst, the recent improved form of Henderson, Downing and Enrique has meant Liverpool have only lost twice in the past eight League games.
Clarke insisted ahead of Albion’s trip to Anfield this evening: “I am not surprised at all.
“Some of the more experienced ones that Kenny signed; it can take a period of time for players to settle into a club the size of Liverpool.”
“You can see the team is now starting to gel. At this stage Liverpool are probably playing the best football in the Premier League.”
But Clarke added: “Brendan went in there with what people said was a different philosophy to Kenny.”
“I think Liverpool have always played good football though. They always try to play good football, they did that under Kenny.”
In my opinion, this is not the case. Brendan Rodgers deserves a lot of the credit. Despite tonight’s loss, Liverpool fans still have a number of reasons to remain optimistic.
£70million is a huge amount of money for a club competing outside the top four. In reality, Liverpool fans should have expected an instant return from their sides considerable investment last January; however, this was not the case. In the past we’ve witnessed new singings making an instant impact at their new Premier League club. Just to name a few, Robin Van Persie, Michu and Demba Ba.
For such a hefty price the players Dalglish acquired should have been successful at Anfield from day one. Rodger’s has simply taken these failures and transformed each player into a more effective unit. Obviously the team took a while to adjust to the new manager’s philosophy, but now the squad is settled, we are already beginning to witness more positive results.
Rodger’s man-management with players such as Jose Enrique and Stewart Downing has been a key reason behind the improved performances. On top of this, the professional attitudes shown by the likes of Andre Wisdom, Suso and most notably Raheem Sterling have demonstrated that the faith Rodgers puts in his young players is always likely to pay off. As well as the approach on the pitch, the fitness and conditioning work put in off it make Liverpool look a much fitter side than they’ve appeared in recent years.
However, Rodger’s signings have been the main reason behind Liverpool’s positive form. The arrival of Daniel Sturridge at the start of the January transfer window has already provided a huge boost for the Reds. Some of his critics immediately labelled the 23-year-old overpriced and over-rated; however, he has made an excellent start to his career at Anfield, scoring 4 goals in 11 appearances, whilst producing some superb performances. In my opinion, the arrival of Sturridge has been a vital factor behind Liverpool’s recent success.
The Irishman later signed Brazilian youngster Philippe Coutinho (£8.5m) from Inter Milan. Although, having only made 1 appearance to date, he hasn’t really had any opportunities to make an impact. Meanwhile, Joe Allen and Fabio Borini have settled quickly, despite this, neither player has proved to be outstanding.
From a results-based perspective, Liverpool are yet to show any significant improvement from the previous three seasons. However, the stylish football Rodger’s side now plays has won him a number of admirers. Of course there have been setbacks, with the FA Cup loss at Oldham Athletic the most embarrassing, but Rodgers even emerged from that with another opportunity to stamp his authority on the club.
Despite his mistakes, however, the positives are winning this particular battle with the negatives in the eyes of many. In my opinion, his managerial decisions have been the main reason behind Liverpool’s recent good form.