If Brendan Rodgers’ dreams were to come true overnight, Liverpool would pass and move like Barcelona. His squad would most likely be small in stature and pass the ball around endlessly. Player movement off the ball would be automatic, and eventually the “striker” would be alone in front of goal for the easy tap-in.
Liverpool is not even close to this dream, but they are nearer and playing better than nine months ago. In case you forgot, and many supporters have, Rodgers has been in charge for less than nine months. That span of time in modern football can be an eternity. Just ask Roman Abromovich. For Rodgers, the owners and the supporters, this blip in the club’s great history has to be seen as a pre-season. Wins are nice and losses hurt, but it’s just the beginning.
The Liverpool team that lost 1-0 to Swansea on the last day of last season were close to the opposite of the current side. Last season’s LFC was aging, bloated, and being choked with it’s own wages. Youngsters could hardly get a sniff of the pitch and players were being paid to play for teams in other countries.
Older players with massive contracts like Maxi Rodriguez, Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy, Charlie Adam and Joe Cole are gone. Other younger players like Jay Spearing, Andy Carroll, Danny Wilson and Adam Morgan have been loaned out. Joe Allen and Daniel Sturridge were not bargain buys, but compared to some other recent acquisitions their transfer fees are refreshing to say the least. Finally, young players like Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey and Suso have bolstered the squad the cheapest way. Mistakes have been made — however, missing out on Clint Dempsey and the misfire loan spell of Nuri Sahin are far easier to digest than £55m for Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing.
Liverpool have played well against top sides such as Manchester City and Everton. The team has played some beautiful football against Sunderland, QPR, Wigan and Norwich. Despite those performances, embarrassing losses to Aston Villa, Arsenal, and Stoke pepper the results. Hiccups aside, improvements over last season’s late relegation form cannot be denied.
With limited funds and some shrewd dealings, the foundation of the squad is being constructed. Brendan Rodgers knows what he wants Liverpool Football Club to look like and how he wants them to play the game. The owners and supporters need the patience and vision to allow his plan to take hold.