Brendan Rodgers' 5 Best Moves of the Season
The short reel of the current Liverpool boss’ time in charge has had some highlights and lowlights, prompting praise and criticism from all corners of the footballing world.
Here are five of his more successful moves of the 2012/13 season so far.
January Transfer Market
Perhaps the most successful portion of his short tenure so far is the smart business he managed in the January transfer market. Traditionally a minefield of immediate need offset against inflated asking prices, the Liverpool gaffer managed what could only be seen as an unmitigated success.
Scoring five goals in nine appearances, he was the first Liverpool player to score a goal in each of his first three appearances since Ray Kennedy did in the 1974/75 season. Fast, skilled and a natural poacher, Sturridge has met and exceeded expectations since he arrived from Chelsea for a reported £13.2 million transfer fee.
Impressive in his debut, he netted his second goal in five games in a Liverpool jersey in the 3-1 loss to Southampton FC. Able to play out wide or down the middle, his skill and pace offer the Reds versatility and quality. At 20 years old and a reported £8.8 million transfer price, he fits the Moneyball-style cost-to-value ratio that Fenway Sports Group expect from Rodgers.
Offloading Underperforming and Overpaid Talent
Cutting the fat is as much a part of a manager’s job description as choosing the best 11 for matchday. Here are some of the notable names that Rodgers has shown the door to at Anfield.
Even before his acrimonious interview after leaving Liverpool for West Ham United on a free transfer, his weekly wage package, nagging injuries, sporadic playing time and subpar performances made his spell at Liverpool subject to fierce debate.
The combined weight of the hefty price tag and the Liver bird on his chest may have been too much for Liverpool’s record signing to bear. Rodgers seems vindicated in sending Carroll out on a season-long loan. The ex-Newcastle United striker, now rumored to be returning to Anfield, has been plagued by injury and has scored only three goals in 18 appearances during his spell at West Ham United.
In his three seasons with Liverpool, the Italian International failed to make a lasting impression. Another player who suffered from injury, Aquilani spent much of his time on the Liverpool books on loan in Italy, playing 28 games and notching only two goals as a Red before his permanent move to AC Fiorentina.
Handling Underachieving Players
Whether or not you see him as an astute man manager or a no-nonsense, hard-nosed bulldog, Brendan Rodgers knows how to extract the best from his players.
His public criticism of much-maligned and underperforming players this season received criticism, but the proof is in the pudding.
Jose Enrique might have disagreed with the fashion in which he was challenged to up his game, but he admitted that it worked and has played in all but nine of this season’s English Premier League games.
Stewart Downing was told that he would have to fight for his place at the beginning of the season. He has done just that. Featuring in 21 league games this season, he seems to have regained his manager’s confidence that he is the man for the job.
Jordan Henderson is another Red who has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance as a result of Rodgers’ often-brutal honesty. Like his counterparts, he quotes the criticism he received as being the spur he needed to get his Liverpool career on track.
Blooding the Youngsters
In his article 4 Mistakes Kenny Dalglish Made That Brendan Rodgers Must Not, Bleacher Report's Nabeel Khokhar points out the need to bring youth into the fold with first-team opportunities.
To varying degrees, and success, that is what Rodgers has done allowing his young talent to showcase themselves while getting a taste of First Team action.
With the offseason transfer woes, Rodgers may have had little option but to run them out in assessing the strengths and abilities of his teenagers should they need to be press-ganged into service, but going deep into his academy and young transfers he has unearthed some diamonds.
Adam Morgan (now on loan with Rotherham United), Samed Yesil and Conor Coady were all given their opportunity to shine, while Jerome Sinclair became the youngest player to represent the Reds in the first 11 at 16 years and six days old in Liverpool’s League Cup victory over West Bromwich Albion.
This may seem like the least likely of his “best moves” considering that this was something that he had the least control over, but his role in the Sports Emmy-nominated Being: Liverpool definitely worked to his advantage.
Fearing what they didn’t understand, many fans had misgivings about Rodgers appointment given that so little was known about a man who was stepping into one of the biggest jobs in football. This documentary was integral in lifting the veil on Rodgers, giving the world front-row access to all of his warts.
The series had its detractors, but it addressed many of the questions that Rodgers’ appointment raised. Either through slick editing or his own savvy, Rodgers gave all who watched it an honest view into who he is and what he was bringing to the table.