Jon Super/Associated Press
Liverpool’s current league position is impressive considering the strength of their immediate competitors but let’s not forget that it could’ve turned out differently had Luis Suarez left the club last summer.
Suarez’s public flirtations with a move to Arsenal and his outspoken desire to play in the Champions League left the Reds at a crossroads: Whether to cash in on their prized asset and use the funds to rebuild—again—or to stick it out and make him adhere to his contract.
On this front, the manager and his bosses stood united: Both Brendan Rodgers and John W. Henry were unanimous in stating that Suarez was to stay and spearhead Liverpool’s Champions League challenge, and so far, it seems to have paid off handsomely.
Rodgers has since admitted, via the Guardian, that the Suarez transfer saga has made him a better manager, but it’s by no means the only managerial feat he’s accomplished in his time at Anfield.
Consider the rejuvenations of Jordan Henderson—which itself has claimed many headlines this season—and Martin Skrtel, from being on the verge of leaving Liverpool to integral parts of the first team.
Consider his impeccable handling of Steven Gerrard’s ageing legs and moving of the legendary club captain to a more withdrawn role to keep his forceful and talismanic presence in the dressing room.
And consider his transforming of Daniel Sturridge, previously a Chelsea castoff, into one of the Premier League’s deadliest strikers, and the growing maturity seen in Suarez’s play.
Brendan Rodgers has proved to be a man who, above all results and points, seems to possess the man-management nous to transform a player’s career and inspire a young and energetic squad.