Following their shocking defeat to Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Sunday, Liverpool are set to end yet another season without a trophy. Manager Brendan Rodgers, who just missed out on the Manager of the Year award last season, is under severe pressure after dropping down the Premier League table and stumbling at the most important of moments.
After guiding Liverpool to second place last season, Rodgers was hailed as the next a greata British manager as his Reds team played some breathtaking football. Bringing the best out of talents such as Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge while reinventing Raheem Sterling. All three, along with talismanic captain Steven Gerrard, were exceptional last season and came within whiskers of winning the Premier League for the first time since 1990. However, his biggest weapon was getting the best out of his one true world class player a Luis Suarez who looked set to leave last year itself.
Nevertheless, all those things have been forgotten suddenly in the wake of the Redsa underwhelming performance this season. Critics have been harsh and fans frustrated. While the teama s performances have largely been disappointing, would it be wise to say goodbye to the man who took the Anfield club so close to a first Premier League crown?
Emotionally Exhausting Season
While last season handed the Reds one of the most heartbreaking of finales, the current season was possibly an even bigger emotional rollercoaster. After long, drawn out discussions with the management, the cluba s inspirational captain Steven Gerrard decided to move away from the club, compounding Rodgersa on field problems. Gerrard had retired from international football after the world cup, presumably to lengthen his stay at Liverpool, so the cluba s decision to move him on must have been a blow to the midfieldera s ego. One can only speculate, but there may have been two camps inside the Liverpool dugout as Gerrard was forced to get used to his squad player status at the club.
Furthermore, the other shining light from the previous season a Raheem Sterling made a mess of his proposed contract extension at the club. Sterling has been supported by Rodgers and Liverpool from the very beginning and his antics must have hurt both the manager and the cluba s supporters.
One Bad Season Doesna t Make Rodgers A Bad Manager
They say that the best managers are the ones willing to accept their mistakes and willing to adapt. If therea s one English manager who has showed the same, it has to be Brendan Rodgers. To get the best out of his players and to adjust to the oppositiona s tactics, Rodgers has shuffled his team and tinkered with his formations at will.
Suareza loss hurt Liverpool bad and Rodgers failed to find a solution to get the best out of the rest of his players at the start of the season, but around December, he found balance by playing the 3-4-2-1 that took the Reds on that 13 game unbeaten run. By playing Emre Can as the right centre back, Rodgers pulled something of a master stroke.
Missing Sturridge and Unfortunate Balotelli
While they lost Suarez after the Uruguayan chose to move on, his strike partner Daniel Sturridge who had been just as brilliant last season, missed a major chunk of the year due to injury. Losing your two main goal scorers can hurt the best of clubs, and thata s exactly what happened to the Reds this year. Former Internazionale, Manchester City and AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli who had been a success in the league previously, was supposed to be the answer, but the Italian never found his range with the Anfield club.
Much has been made about Rodgers decision to bring Balotelli in as a replacement, but the fact remains that it wasna t a gamble. Balotelli was, until this season, a proven striker both in the Serie A and the Premier League and his move not working out is as unfortunate as it is surprising.