A year ago, Liverpool were in yet another state of transition. And it's a very valid argument that they still are.
Last Autumn, however, there was an air of uncertainty and unproven mystery about Brendan Rodgers’ appointment as Kenny Dalglish’s successor at Anfield.
Rodgers certainly talks the talk and has proven so far to be a very intelligent and eloquent figurehead—much needed traits at a club where your every move is scrutinised.
The evolution of tactics
When Rodgers became Liverpool boss last summer, every website and media publication under the sun rushed to talk about “tiki-taka” and possession-based, pressing football.
As time has gone on, Rodgers has not been afraid to take a pragmatic approach to his evolution of tactics at Liverpool.
The result, at this stage, sees Liverpool still sitting back and increasingly playing counter-attacking football.
The slow and patient pressing play is beginning to only make brief cameo appearances.
The most positive thing to take from this is the development of Liverpool’s style.
Rodgers is ensuring the Reds are playing flexible and dynamic football that adapts to different phases of play in the game, making game plans for opposition more difficult to fathom and Liverpool more difficult to read.
Liverpool’s resolve to come back from behind twice against Newcastle on Saturday showed resolve to not let heads sink and give in.
A year ago, the Reds were going behind and struggled to get going again, unable to find the lift to get them back into the game.
Quality of squad
Out with the old and in with the new – a philosophy that has served Liverpool well over the last year, and now the Reds are reaping the rewards.
Rodgers has shifted expensive fringe players out—such as Stewart Downing, Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing. Meanwhile, he's brought in fresh talent that will not only put pressure on first team players to perform but could also oust them.
Competition is high in Liverpool’s squad now.
Mamadou Sakho was brought in to give Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel a much-needed kick up the backside (not literally, a Sakho boot up the bum would no doubt hurt).
Aly Cissokho, whilst still finding his feet at the club, provides Jose Enrique with a player to look carefully over his shoulder at.
Simon Mignolet, Victor Moses, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge are solid upgrades from the departed Pepe Reina, Downing, Shelvey and Andy Carroll.
In addition, the rise of young players coming through has provided some exciting discussion of future Liverpool line-ups. Raheem Sterling, Jordan Ibe and Andre Wisdom have all made good cases for first team starting places.
No one's saying that Liverpool are the finished article—but there's certainly clear improvement in terms of squad resources on hand.
Rodgers recently admitted in an interview with LiverpoolFC.com that he found his first few months at the club difficult.
However, since settling in and purchasing players to make the squad his own, he believes the club are onto a good thing.
Since January, I think in terms of points gained, we are in the top three in the country. Hopefully that is an indication that we're doing well and that the club is in order.
I still think there's a hell of a lot of improvement for us to make, but in the main we're a tight unit, and we just need to keep moving forward.
We're here to compete. Liverpool is one of the great institutions of the game. We're never happy when we don't win, but you have to have a sense of perspective as well.
Although he would say that, wouldn’t he.
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