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Liverpool vs Aston Villa: same managers, different clubs

Sourav Saha
SENIOR ANALYST
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815   //    14 Dec 2012, 10:58 IST

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 07: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool beats Stephen Ireland of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield on April 7, 2012 in Liverpool, England.

Brendan Rogers and Paul Lambert were two of the most talked about managers last season, for they brought forth teams from the Championship who secured their Premier League status. While the feat in itself is commendable, the manner in which they secured that status was what caught the fans’ eyes the most, as they were honest to their footballing principles and were not swayed by the opinion of others.

Being young managers and showing the willingness to believe in their philosophy also gave a lot of confidence to the players, as in the end, should a league campaign fail to deliver, it’s the manager’s head on the chopping block.

Their achievements with their respective clubs is what led them to being in charge of their current clubs, Rodgers with Liverpool and Lambert with Aston Villa. While both have been under considerable pressure, they have persisted with their philosophies, the fans have stuck by them and have not grown impatient. As they go about instilling their ideas right from the roots of the club up to the senior sides, they would also like to get favourable results.

Changes of such magnitude do not see results overnight, but they do have long lasting effects.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 01: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on Decaember 1, 2012 in Liverpool, England.

Lambert and Rodgers both believe in giving youth a  chance as they are easy to imprint them with their ideas, but its been good to see that the more senior players have fit in with their managers’ ideas and have not challenged them. Unlike the hiccups and resistance Andre Villas-Boas faced from his Chelsea squad, there haven’t been such obstacles for Rodgers.

However Lambert has faced the challenging question of leaving out Villa’s £20 million striker on the bench. Time and time again he has had to explain the logic and his relationship with Darren Bent.

His faith in Christian Benteke has been rewarded though, as has already scored his tenth goal of the season. Other players in the form of Andreas Weimann, Brett Holman, Barry Bannan, Kieran Westwood and Chris Herd has been rewarded. It should be noted that although the team is just a place above the relegation zone, it is still a young team and they have shown the resilience of a more mature side.

Also, their senior players haven’t been the most fit either, hence the reliance on younger players.

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SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 03: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert congratulates his players after the Barclays Premier League Match between Sunderland and Aston Villa at Stadium of Light on November 3, 2012 in Sunderland, England.

But leaving all that aside, Liverpool will look to go for a win and make their climb towards the top places. For Rodgers, especially after last week’s win it would be a really good time to kick on. The team have showed that Rodger’s theories are starting to pay dividends as they grabbed a vital win against West Ham, and unlike their last campaign where for every step forward they took two steps back, Rodgers will be looking to change that.

There will be the added bonus of having Suarez back at the tip of their attack. Suarez, who has been the top scorer for Liverpool this season will be looking to add to his tally as well and will be itching to return. But the suspension might have actually done him favours ahead of the upcoming Christmas schedule. Rodgers though will also hope that Jose Enrique will be fit enough to start as he has also been instrumental in Liverpool’s splendid displays this season.

Lambert though knows points at Anfield will be welcome as he looks to lead his team out of the relegation zone and ward off his detractors.

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Sourav Saha
SENIOR ANALYST
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