A disappointing end to the Premier League season wasn't enough to discredit Brendan Rodgers' entire 2013-14 campaign, which earned him LMA Manager of the Year honors.
The Liverpool manager was given the award on Monday evening, as The Guardian's Daniel Taylor confirmed:
Now confirmed. Manager of the year: Brendan Rodgers, ahead of (no order) Sean Dyche, Roberto Martinez and Tony Pulis.— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) May 12, 2014
A year after finishing seventh in the EPL during his debut season with the Reds, Rodgers had his squad positioned to win the Premiership for much of the season before a late collapse against Crystal Palace essentially sealed the title for Manchester City.
Regardless, in terms of performance relative to resources, Rodgers was unmatched. He ended a string of four-consecutive campaigns at sixth or worse, notched the club's third top-two finish since the turn of the century and, as the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce added, set a bit of history:
Brendan Rodgers is the LMA Manager of the Year. Fully deserved for remarkable season he has overseen. First LFC boss ever to win it.— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) May 12, 2014
Rodgers squeezed a Player of the Year campaign out of Luis Suarez—who was rumored many times before the season to have one foot out the door—continued the development of youngsters like Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson and exceeded the highest of expectations with Liverpool.
Alas, it's a bittersweet win for the 41-year-old, who had visions of hoisting a different piece of silverware and taking part in a different celebration, via Taylor:
Brendan Rodgers 'very privileged and humbled' but 'I was hoping to be on the open-top bus tonight'— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) May 12, 2014
That honor, of course, went to Manchester City, but Manuel Pellegrini was still nowhere near the top of the voting results—a surprising fact considering his success, as Taylor argued:
Pretty harsh for Manuel Pellegrini that he wins two trophies in first season at Man City and not even among the top four— Daniel Taylor (@DTguardian) May 12, 2014
There wasn't exactly a shortage of viable candidates, though.
Sean Dyche helped Burnley earn promotion for the first time since 2010, Roberto Martinez nearly pushed Everton into the top four and Tony Pulis skyrocketed Crystal Palace to 11th place in their first season back in the Premiership.
Who should have won?
It would be difficult, however, to make an argument against Rodgers, who turned Liverpool back into an elite contender atop England.
With a spot back in the Champions League and targets on their backs domestically, expectations will only increase for the Reds in 2014-15, but Rodgers has made it quite clear he's up to the task.
Although the summer transfer window will go a long way in altering the outlook of the upcoming season, Liverpool faithful should feel confident with the Northern Irishman at the helm.