Why Brendan Rodgers is the man to carry Liverpool forward
No need of Klopp for the Kop or Rafa's emotional return to Anfield
As the 2014-15 EPL season comes to a close, it is a safe assessment to say that Liverpool have been underwhelming this season. It is said that strange things happen in football and it is indeed strange that the man who was touted as the manager of the year last season is subjected to watch banners flying thousands of feet above his head calling for his head.
Failure to reach the final of the FA cup, hapless performances against West Brom and Hull City have allowed for the clamoring of Brendan Rodgers’ removal after the lull during the mid-season revival. And as we speak, any more losses in the remaining fixtures especially against lowly placed teams will only make these voices shriller.
However, rationally speaking there seems to be no need to panic and replace Rodgers with Jurgen Klopp or Rafa Benitez (bookies’ favorites). After touching the dizzying heights of last season, Liverpool’s performance this season is strikingly similar to the 2008-09 season, but the state of the squad isn’t as bad as it was then. There are positive signs which warrant that the owners of the club persist with the Northern Irishman.
Although Liverpool spent around €100 million this season, which was mostly financed with the sale of Luis Suarez, it is a bitter truth Liverpool do not have the financial muscle compared to Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and even Arsenal. It is unfortunate that money is driving modern football, but that’s the way it is. In fact, Liverpool are 5th in terms of their wage bill and it is quite likely they will finish 5th. Apt!
Can’t judge signings in just 1 season
Suarez and Sturridge scored nearly half of the 101 goals Liverpool scored last season and it is obvious that any team will suffer if you wipe out the source of half their goals. Even with the sale of Suarez and Sturridge’s injury problems, the fact that Liverpool have managed to stay around the top four is admiring. Last season, Liverpool’s leaky defence let in 51 goals and although Rodgers is not known for his defensive coaching skills, he has somehow managed to plug the defence with 38 goals conceded so far.
A major source of criticism labelled on the manager has been his signings. If you put aside Lambert, Lallana and Balotelli, all the signings are young with lots of potential. With the lack of experienced campaigners, except Steven Gerrard, to guide them, they are bound to take more time to settle. And if you go by Arsene Wenger’s theory, who has always maintained that a player’s true quality is reflected only in his second season, then it seems a little hasty to draw all judgements in one season.
Besides, it’s admiring how well Rodgers works with young players – see the improvement in Jordan Henderson, and Simon Mignolet, who now looks a different man in goal. He has also been keen on giving academy players a chance, featuring some in the matchday squad – Jordon Ibe, Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan. It is always encouraging to tap in on the exciting talent in the youth academy and this is one place where Rodgers cannot be faulted with.
Replacing BR would result in another rebuilding season
Also, if you look at Rafa Benitez’s record at Napoli, it is not very striking. Barely making into the top four in Serie A, and without a domestic title since 2004 (the year he left Valencia for Liverpool). Although, he is a genius in European competitions, he doesn’t seem to be the answer for the 25-year long yearning of a domestic title for Kopites. Jurgen Klopp’s struggles this season are no secret and although he is a manager with fantastic pedigree, it remains to be seen how he would perform in the Premier League.
In fact, I’m not sure how many of fellow Reds will be willing to go through another season of rebuilding. Actually, since Rodgers took over, it has been a team-building exercise; a team in transition. Right now, the squad looks right barring a few who will be leaving. A good quality striker, a central midfielder and a right fullback are what I feel should be top priority in the upcoming transfer window.
Lastly, the Reds need to look no further than their arch-rivals Manchester United, who after appointing Sir Alex Ferguson finished 11th in 1986/87, 2nd in 1987/88, 11th in 1988/89, 13th in 1989/90, 6th in 1990/91, 2nd in 1991/92 2nd, and FINALLY after 6 LONG seasons Champions in 1992/93.
Brendan Rodgers has performed at par with what he had this season and surely deserves a season more.