Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk newsletter to find out how you can win 2 free tickets to Copa America »

SAT, 3:45PM ET
SAT, 3:45PM ET
SAT, 4:30PM ET
SAT, 9:30PM ET

Brendan Rodgers, the Catalyst for Liverpool’s Remarkable Rise

Rodgers Old Trafford 600x445 Brendan Rodgers, the Catalyst for Liverpool’s Remarkable Rise

Manchester United supporters bellowed out “20 times, 20 times” in the final minutes of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday.

Despite being 3-0 down to their great rivals after an insipid display, they remained resilient, reminding the traveling fans from Merseyside of their decorated past. A past in which they’ve won 20 league titles, two more than the Anfield outfit.

But as the Liverpool players celebrated their win at the final whistle in front of an emptying Old Trafford, it was embarrassingly apparent that whilst recent history might belong to the Red Devils, the future, the here and now, in fact, belongs to the Merseysiders.

Things are looking dazzlingly bright for Liverpool, and it’s primarily down to the work of their boss Brendan Rodgers. At the final whistle on Sunday, the former Swansea City chief understatedly saluted the traveling support, before striding down the Old Trafford touchline wearing a wry smile. It was a showing from his team that revealed to the watching world just how far Liverpool have come under his management.

And if there was any lingering doubt heading into their clash with Manchester United, the Reds from Merseyside showed they are ready to win this Premier League. The fans know it, the players know it and whilst he will be keen to keep the pressure off his team, Rodgers will know it too.

Liverpool Fans Brendan Rodgers, the Catalyst for Liverpool’s Remarkable Rise


The Liverpool boss has taken a back-seat during his team’s recent renaissance, with the media preferring to lavish praise on the mercurial duo of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

Let’s not forget, Rodgers was ridiculed by many in the written press during the early stages of his tenure, mainly due to the toe-curling awkwardness of the Being Liverpool documentary. But as this team continues to grow under the tutelage of the Northern Irishman, his appointment is looking increasingly like a masterstroke by the Reds’ owners; those who prematurely mocked him look rather foolish with Liverpool sitting just four points off the Premier League summit with one game in hand over Chelsea.

The former Swansea boss has done a truly remarkable job at Anfield to date. He walked into a club that was on his knees after the underwhelming, indulgent reigns of Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish. But since day one he’s had a clear vision, unyielding belief in his methods and has subsequently impinged these values onto his players.

And he’s done things a little differently from the norm, something Rodgers seemingly prides himself on. He’s made the bold decision to ship out circa £65 million worth of talent when he moved on Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam, Jonjo Shelvey and more recently Stewart Downing. Not to mention his decision to keep a then-volatile and banned Suarez despite his desperate pleas to leave the club; a decision that could have easily blown up in his face.

Rodgers Carroll Brendan Rodgers, the Catalyst for Liverpool’s Remarkable Rise


The players that he’s entrusted to take the club forward have benefitted massively from Rodgers’ coaching, Suarez included. His handling of Raheem Sterling has been magnificent, the improvements in Jordan Henderson’s game have been phenomenal and the mature performances of Jon Flanagan are a testament to the belief that the current set-up festers in young players.

As for the Uruguayan, Rodgers has propelled his game to stratospheric new levels after he and the Liverpool owners refused to be dictated to by the player in the summer. Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho are another duo who have flourished after being given regular first-team football following their arrival in January 2013, whilst Steven Gerrard has reinvented himself as a superb deep-lying midfield man.

Rodgers has adapted as a manager, too, humble enough to deviate from the “death-by-possession” mantra he harbored on his arrival for the sake of the team’s development.

Many expected Liverpool to become the Premier League’s stylistic equivalent to Barcelona, but these days they are much more comparable to Borussia Dortmund: aggressive off the ball, remarkably incisive with it and bursting with young, fearless talent. This season, the Reds have been devastatingly swift with their transitional play and pass in a much more vertical, direct manner. It’s been downright thrilling to watch.

It’s also a shift in style that has given Liverpool an astute tactical versatility. This season they have played on the break, pressed aggressively, recoiled into a solid shape and when the situation demands, kept the ball to slow things down. The players have also taken to a host of different formations, as a proactive Rodgers has tinkered with how to get the better of the opposition and the optimum from his sublime striking duo.

sas 600x399 Brendan Rodgers, the Catalyst for Liverpool’s Remarkable Rise


The lack of European football has been bittersweet in that sense. As we’ve already touched upon, individual players have reaped the rewards of Rodgers’ coaching skills, which will have been more focused and beneficial given the lack of midweek games. But that extra time has also allowed the manager to work on tactics, systems and strategies. Additional time that the players and manager are clearly relishing.

The results have been stunning, as Liverpool have become the most vibrant, eye-catching team in the Premier League since the turn of the year. But beneath that swagger and offensive showmanship is an underpinning will to win that has been instilled by Rodgers. A combination that could facilitate Liverpool’s first league title since 1990.

Given the progression of this Liverpool side, Rodgers has naturally become a unanimously popular figure with the Anfield faithful. From this standpoint, there is little doubt he is the right man reawaken this sleeping giant of a football club.

He is a fine figurehead for the Reds; his footballing acumen, amicable nature and eagerness to immerse himself in culture of the local community has helped garner great esteem from the people of Liverpool. But you suspect nothing would endear him more to scousers of a red persuasion than a Premier League title win.

It might come this season, it might not. But if Liverpool as a team and Rodgers as a manager continue to improve at such a rapid rate, it certainly won’t be too far down the line.

For more Liverpool news, analysis and opinion, visit our Liverpool team page.

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Liverpool. Bookmark the permalink.

About Matt Jones

Matt has been writing for World Soccer Talk for more than two years, contributing pieces about myriad topics and regularly lending his voice to the podcast. Matt has covered games live for the website from a host of venues, including Wembley, London and the ANZ Stadium, Sydney. He is a regular at Goodison Park where he watches his beloved Everton, but harbours an unyielding interest in all aspects of European soccer. You can get in touch with Matt via e-mail at or on Twitter @MattJFootball
View all posts by Matt Jones →

9 Responses to Brendan Rodgers, the Catalyst for Liverpool’s Remarkable Rise

  1. goatslookshifty says:

    He’s had a good season so far but until Liverpool are in the top four consistently in the future, I’d have to withhold judgment of his influence. Tack on European cup games year after year and see if they manage to stay up there. I would say, however, his ability to hold onto Suarez was a good piece of managerial work.
    This time last year, Michael Waldrup was the bees knees and we see how that worked out.

    • scott says:

      Laudrup is a quality manager, Swansea has had a ton of injuries to key players, couple this with the posion chalice which is the Europa League and you get the kind of season Swansea have had this year which is not a reflection of Laudrup ‘s managerial quality.

      • goatslookshifty says:

        Yeah I agree. Laudrup was solid but it’s an example how a club’s season can go t#ts up when you add injuries and extra European games. Roberto Martinez should be given just as much credit as Rodgers for what he’s doing at Everton.

        • Clampdown says:

          Why? Is Everton challenging for the title?

          No disrespect meant there. I think Martinez is an excellent manager. Just look at the results, point total difference year over year, and the massive improvement for certain players, and the praise of Rodgers is justified.

  2. Smokey Bacon says:

    He’s come a long way since that embarrassing documentary. I bet he doesn’t use the three envelopes thing anymore.

    • Rob says:

      The same one that Ferguson was seen as a genius for using?

      • Smokey Bacon says:

        It worked for Ferguson but none of those Liverpool players took it seriously judging by the looks on their faces.

        Maybe Moyes should try it, although he probably doesn’t have enough envelopes.

  3. Yespage says:

    He hasn’t been perfect, but was given a little time to get things going. Being Liverpool, they could lose on the road three times, so I’d rather wait till the end of the season to be full of praise.

    One thing is for certain, they are showing that they do belong. And with things so tight, they are in the chase for the Title, which is a few steps above where they were a year or two ago.

  4. john marzan says:

    it all started with the show Being Liverpool. ask the men in blazers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>