Liverpool must give Brendan Rodgers another season
Brendan Rodgers has come under criticism from many fans and pundits alike for failing to build on the previous season’s good work. Liverpool fans were very optimistic at the start of the season for they had narrowly missed the title and hoped they could go one better this time.
But as the dust settles on this Premier League season, much of it has evaporated and many are calling for Brendan Rodger’s head. They feel the team has regressed this season rather than going forward. While the initial disappointment may spur such a reaction it is important to tread lightly and give Rodgers another chance. Here’s why.
Losing Suarez was always going to be a blow
Rodgers lost Luis Suarez to Barcelona at the start of the season. It was always going to be tough to cope without the talismanic striker. 31 goals simply cannot be replaced overnight.
Adding to his woes Daniel Sturridge was also out for most of the season with thigh injuries. It meant that Rodgers was without two of his best players from last season and any manager would have likely struggled in a similar situation.
Suarez was much more than just goals. He was the fulcrum of Liverpool’s attack last season and the whole team was set up to play for him and around him. Without him, the team was going to have to play differently and it takes time to adjust.
A chance to integrate his signings
Much of Rodger’s criticism revolves around the fact that his summer signings have been poor and overpriced. It is very much true that signings like Mario Balotelli and Iago Aspas could best be described as “hopeful” and have failed miserably. He has very little to show after spending over £200m since taking over at Anfield.
Yet his spending spree last summer has landed names like Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can and Alberto Moreno who undeniably have great potential. Given another chance this season under Rodgers they may very well go onto fulfill their potential.
Adapting to the Premier League is tough and it generally takes a season for players to find their feet. Rodgers can be given the benefit of doubt and allowed another season to successfully integrate his signings into the team. Some of his signings have indeed been overpriced given that they are unproven at the highest level but they have time on their side.
All of them are young and this is a definite sign that Rodgers is thinking about long-term stability of the club. So he deserves another season to get more out of his recent signings and if he does ends up doing that, Liverpool will be in good stead for a long time.
The football is not all that bad
Despite all the criticism of Liverpool’s poor transfer window activity, the football actually played at Anfield is not bad. They have certainly been one of the most attractive teams in the league. Rodgers has instilled a free flowing nature to their game and it makes for a very good viewing.
Results, however, are important and they have managed to lose all the big games this season while also struggling to find an alternative plan in case their original plan fails. Nevertheless, they will likely finish only one spot away from the top four and not all that far away from making the necessary tweaks to get back into contention. This will definitely happen if Rodgers manages to bring the best out of his signings. All the more reason to give him another year.
He is well respected among players
This may not feel as a great reason to lobby for his cause but it is very important that a manager is respected by his players. There is no doubt that Rodgers is held in high regard by his players even when results have not gone their way.
There have been no instances of disgruntled or dissatisfied players speaking against him which shows that he has the faith of his players. There is no guarantee that Liverpool will find a manager who can replicate this unity in the dressing room. Any unrest among the players is surely detrimental to the club and Rodgers has done well in this aspect.
Of course all of this comes with a caveat. Rodgers does deserve another year but things must improve quickly starting this summer where he must try for better transfers. There are some players whom he can afford to offload and must buy shrewdly to strengthen the squad. He must also justify last season’s signings. If he fails in any of this then Liverpool must aspire for someone better than him next summer.