5 Biggest Decisions Brendan Rodgers Has Got Right so Far at Liverpool
The Reds still aren’t where they want to be in terms of both their league position and their standing in the game on the continent, but there have been positives to take from a season that has seen plenty of changes both on and off the pitch.
There is always a desire to focus on the negatives in football, but what are the things that Rodgers has got right during this campaign?
Here are five decisions that the manager can be proud of.
Restoring the Old 'This Is Anfield' Sign
It was only a gesture and was clearly stage-managed to make the new manager look as good as possible, but Rodgers’ decision to be seen restoring the old "This Is Anfield" sign to the famous old tunnel―a sign initially installed by Bill Shankly―showed straight away that he “got” what it meant to manage Liverpool.
It might be seen as somewhat corny by some, but at Liverpool they respect their traditions, and this was a fine one to uphold on your first day.
Contrast this approach with some of the body language and words used by Liverpool’s last “outsider” manager Roy Hodgson, and you see why Rodgers has been cut far more slack.
Putting Faith in Youngsters
When called upon, young players very rarely let you down, and although Rodgers has sometimes been forced into placing his trust in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso due to the thin nature of his squad, the teenagers have always done their utmost and will have benefited from the experience.
The relationship between the manager and his young players hasn’t always been a peaceful one, but Rodgers has at least opened up a channel that allows the players from Liverpool’s academy to feel as though they have a genuine chance of making it into the first team.
In terms of his youth policy, the boss seems to be doing everything right.
Showing Tough Love
The likes of Jose Enrique, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have all been on the receiving end of Rodgers’ anger this season, but all have come through it and are now impressing in the manager’s plans.
Criticism can either inspire a player or send him further into his shell, and Rodgers’ words have all inspired this trio, and perhaps they will with even more players.
The key to the manager’s success at Liverpool will, of course, be whether or not he can constantly trust his players to deliver without the need for a few harsh words, but given that these players and more have almost always responded well to setbacks has only strengthened Rodgers’ control. It has made him a stronger boss.
Stepping Up the Fitness Regime
Whilst there has been much talk about the style of football that the manager has looked to implement, it is the fitness and conditioning he has brought in that is arguably reaped the greater rewards.
The fact that Steven Gerrard has managed to play in every minute of every one of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season is surely the best example of this new regime, and the Reds will hope that the increase in their fitness will pay off in the closing months of the season.
Signing Daniel Sturridge
The failure to add a forward in the summer transfer window ultimately cost Liverpool dearly, but the addition of Daniel Sturridge in January has already seen a huge step in the right direction.
The 23-year-old has flourished so far in his brief Reds’ career since signing from Chelsea, and he looks as though he’s only going to get better and better over time.
In a squad so reliant on the performances of Luis Suarez, Sturridge has added a confidence which simply wasn’t there before, and he’s already looking to be a fine piece of business by Rodgers.