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.
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.
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.