Liverpool's 5 Best Results of the Brendan Rodgers Era so Far
Brendan Rodgers took over as Liverpool manager in the summer with the objective of rebuilding the playing staff, putting his own tactics and formation into action and leading the club back to, ultimately, Champions League football and a chance to fight for the Premier League title.
It's just six months into that job and he has already experienced plenty of ups and downs, both on the pitch and off of it.
A busy transfer window saw targets come and go, household names depart and, after initially getting a few good names in, a farcical deadline day give a negative vibe to the end of August.
By then he had already overseen his first league defeat, made his managerial debut in Europe and gotten a glimpse at what the pressures of managing a club the size of Liverpool would be like—not to mention he had featured prominently in the behind-the-scenes documentary about the club.
It took a while for the team to record their first victory in the league under the Northern Irish manager, but there has been steady, evident progress in performances and results and as Liverpool approach the halfway stage of his debut season they sit in eighth place in the table.
Eighth, of course, being exactly where they ended the last campaign.
The Reds are just five points off a Champions League place so although there is room for improvement, there is also plenty to aim for.
Here are the best five results that Rodgers has enjoyed in his short time at the club so far.
Sep. 29: 5-2 vs. Norwich City (away)
Luis Suarez revisited the scene of his stunning hat-trick in 2011-12 season—and bagged himself another one as the Reds got their league campaign off to a belated start at Carrow Road.
After three defeats and two draws Liverpool won a league game at the sixth time of asking, blowing the Canaries away with three from Luis Suarez, one from Nuri Sahin and an own goal by Leon Barnett.
Liverpool played some terrific football against a side still trying to find their own rhythm under a new manager and the movement in the final third gave the Reds a definite edge. Goals in the second half from Grant Holt and Steve Morison proved an irritation rather than anything more major as Liverpool ran out comfortable winners, dominating large spells of the game.
It was a brief hint at how the shape of the team and the passing game would come to look over the coming months. The final whistle which gave the Reds three points was as pleasing as the goals from Suarez himself.
Oct. 25: 1-0 vs. Anzhi Makhachkala (home, Europa League)
Nobody quite seemed to know what to expect from Liverpool or their opponents when Anzhi came to town; the Reds had utilised the Europa League to play some fringe players but on home turf against the free-spending Russians Rodgers played something of a stronger team.
Stewart Downing was the match winner, cutting in from the left to unleash a fearsome strike into the far corner of the net and though both teams could have added to the goals in the match, a solitary effort was enough for the three points.
It turned out to be a result which spun the group on its head in the Europa League. It gave Liverpool plenty of confidence and impetus to take into their remaining matches as well as breathing space to not worry too much about the result on the return trip.
Nov. 17: 3-0 vs. Wigan Athletic (home)
In the midst of his fine goal-scoring form, Luis Suarez was again instrumental in a Liverpool victory as he put two past Ali Al-Habsi in the Wigan Athletic goal, before Jose Enrique managed his first ever strike for the Reds.
A 3-0 win didn't flatter the Reds at all as they were superior in every department after the break.
The first half was goalless even though Liverpool were the better team, but the second period was a completely dominant performance from Brendan Rodgers' men.
Suarez was irresistible but he had a great support act for the match in his wide forwards, Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling, both of whom played their part.
It was Liverpool's second clean sheet at the beginning of a run of five shut-outs in eight games as Rodgers sought to find a balance between attack and defence in his side and marked the return of Pepe Reina to the team after injury.
Dec. 6: 1-0 vs. Udinese (away, Europa League)
The math was simple as Liverpool travelled to Italy in the final match-day of the Europa League group stages: win and go through—anything else and the Reds faced a likely exit.
Jordan Henderson finally put his foot through the ball to shoot and got his reward with the winning goal. He put in a fine performance besides, as a mixed Liverpool more than held their own in Udine.
A late onslaught almost cost the team dearly when Antonio Di Natale smashed the ball over the bar in injury time but Liverpool deserved their win in a tough environment.
The three points ensured Liverpool not only qualified from the Europa League Group A but went through top of the group—though with a trip to Russia against Zenit St. Petersburg the reward, whether this has actually been good fortune or not is open to debate.
Regardless, the result at Udinese was a very good one against one of the better Serie A sides over the past few years.
Dec. 22: 4-0 vs. Fulham (home)
Liverpool's most recent win might be their most complete performance so far under Brendan Rodgers.
Martin Skrtel, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing and Luis Suarez hit the goals in the Reds' biggest home win of the season to lift the team up to eighth and fill the supporters with confidence once more as January edges ever closer, and with it the promise of new signings.
The players currently at the club did their best to remind the boss that they had a big part to play still as an attacking display made the most of Fulham's lethargic attitude to defending the midfield areas, and for once the Reds were able to display a killer instinct in front of goal.
Even though a couple of players still managed to miss relatively open goals.
Four without reply was a great way to head into the Christmas break and the result was fully warranted—making it not only the most recent but also perhaps their best win under the new boss.
Rodgers and his players will be hoping to add plenty more matches to the list over the remainder of the season.