Report Card On Liverpool Under Manager Brendan Rodgers

Traditionally, November’s first week is an important one for the English Premier League. Managers new and old are being evaluated, having overseen approximately 10 matches for which credit or blame must be assigned. Every year managers at the foot of the table are under pressure, although, the manager under the most scrutiny this season is probably Brendan Rodgers. There is nothing more enjoyable than the analysis of a manager who is so fond of analyzing himself. About a quarter of the way through the season, it is time for an interim report card on the ‘Liverpool Project’.

In total, the Northern Irishman has guided his team through 18 competitive fixtures, with a record of 8W-5D-5L. This is respectable, although less so if one discards Europa League qualifying fixtures against the almighty FC Gomel and Hearts. Looking at the Premier League alone, Liverpool is ranked 12th (2-4-3) with a goal differential of -2. Based purely on results, Liverpool has performed less than satisfactorily in domestic competition.

It is unfair to claim Liverpool has faired poorly in the EPL without looking beyond the results column. By breaking down their record into 3 sections, a more accurate depiction of how Liverpool has competed can be established. Firstly, Liverpool has played 3 matches against the top four sides from last season (the Manchester clubs and Arsenal). They took one point from those matches, a draw against City where they could have won if not for a defensive error. They lost to United via a penalty when they were already down to 10 men. Only the 2-0 home loss to Arsenal could be considered poor.

Secondly, in matches against second tier teams (West Bromwich, Stoke City, Everton) Liverpool has 2 draws and a loss. Liverpool was denied a victory against their local rivals due to an incorrect offside call. An away draw against Stoke was respectable, however, the 3-0 reversal at The Hawthorns was substandard.

Thirdly, Liverpool has faced three teams who will likely struggle this season (Sunderland, Norwich, Reading). In this segment, the Reds have an impressive 2-1-0 record. The question remains, what can we deduce from this breakdown?

If it is assumed that Liverpool is a second tier team, less assumption than fact in this writer’s opinion, they have faired as expected. Against the strongest sides Liverpool have generally performed well but failed to get results. Versus second tier teams they need to improve. Lastly, Liverpool has excelled against the also-rans.

Twelfth place is not a satisfactory position for the club, even with the expectation Liverpool will not ultimately finish in the top 6. However, if each fixture is evaluated individually, Liverpool has competed at a respectable level on the field under Rodger’s leadership.

In the transfer market, Brendon Rodgers has again performed adequately. Joe Allen, for example, has seamlessly fit into the team. It may be early days for Fabio Borini, but £11.7 seems a steep price. 2 shots on target in 5 games is not the best of starts. In general, judgement on the other recruits will have to wait as they are mostly prospects.  On the transfer front Rodgers is already an upgrade on the man he replaced, but with the purse strings tightened he has a difficult task.

Evaluating Rodgers depends entirely on your expectations of his squad. Advancing to the next round in Europe and an 8th place finish in the EPL would meet most reasonable expectations. Given a lack of quality depth or a true front man, this is a team with considerable limitations. Rodgers will need to invest, but soundly, to strengthen his squad.  Investing soundly is not a historical trait of the January transfer window, but it will be an important period for Rodgers. Failure to secure squad depth soon will derail his progress.

So far, a C+ grade seems a fair evaluation. The results have been underwhelming, but the level of performance has been solid. The completion of the Being: Liverpool documentary should relieve some media pressure, particularly for Rodgers who starred but erred on screen. Hopefully he will have some silverware to place next to his beloved self-portrait upon the completion of his project.

10 thoughts on “Report Card On Liverpool Under Manager Brendan Rodgers”

  1. “It is unfair to claim Liverpool has faired poorly in the EPL without looking beyond the results column.”

    LOL good luck with that. That’s all people look at!

    1. And good luck spinning it when the results column has you looking upwards at the likes of Swansea, West Ham and WBA, and in possession of 2/3rds of Everton’s points.

      No offense to those clubs, but if I am a Liverpool supporter it can’t sit well with me to be behind one promoted club from this year and one from last.

  2. Winning is all that counts but a few years creating will create a winning environment…forget the quick buck solution never works unless you have a bottomless pit of money.

  3. “Thirdly, Liverpool has faced three teams who will *likely struggle* this season (Sunderland, Norwich, Reading). In this segment, the Reds have an *impressive* 2-1-0 record”

    —- Worst spin ever… C+ is kind. He is worse than Roy Hodgson who got fired after 6 months. Good luck, BR!

  4. I would also like to add the fact that he is tapping into the youth system at Liverpool and getting some great performances with teenagers. This is a practice we haven’t seen for sometime. I’m more interested on how the youth will fair than anything else with the team at this point.

  5. I’m sorry, but it’s foolish to judge a new manager after 9 or 10 matches. The club lacks depth and a true center forward, and hopefully this will be addressed in the transfer windows in January and next summer. He’s giving invaluable minutes to promising young players, who for the most part, have looked great. The team just needs to score.

    As far as LFC looking up the table at Swansea, Everton, etc. I have no problem with that. Both of those clubs have performed well and deserve their places in the table. But, again, it’s only a quarter of the way through the season.

    While I, like many others, would have expected better results thus far, this is not a short-term project. I’m encouraged by what Rodgers is doing and think it will benefit the club long term.

  6. There should be no panic from Liverpool fans. The goal was to challenge for the top 4. With if the non-offside offside at Everton goes their way, or Reina is closer to Skrtel for the back pass vs Man City, they are within 2 pts of 4th place, and no one is questioning Rodgers so much. That said, I actually think it is great that things are breaking against Liverpool so much. Adversity is how you build character, as an individual and as a team. Especially for these young players, how much better will they be with a bit of adversity that they have to work through. How much better will they be as a team if they can work their way through adversity, whether it be salvaging this season, or whether it be learning for next season. I think these growing pains are a better foundation for long term sustained success, rather than having instant success and not learning how to deal with adversity (see: Man City).

  7. The problem with Rodgers is that he insists on playing a system without the right players who are capable of playing it. It’s easier to have young players buy into a new system but it takes years for the team to be successful to the point that they will actually win anything. With all the senior players at Liverpool right now it won’t be easy to get success playing the Rodgers way.

    A manager should always play a system based on the type of players he has. To insist that players should adapt to a system rather than adapt the system to suit the players is where Rodgers is failing. He has not won any trophies at any of his previous clubs and while he is a very able midtable manager I just don’t see him gettting Liverpool into the top 4 in the near future.

  8. People keep harking on about the offside goal v Everton but if we are going down that route then Lafferpool should have been down to 10 men in that game.Not just that game,at least 3 times now they should have had players sent off.

    Lafferpool are a 2nd tier team,but bottom of that 2nd tier. They spin about only being 6 points off top 4 but reality is 2 points off bottom 4.

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