Brendan Rodgers' first season at Liverpool saw him, at times, gloss over or hype up a reality that wasn't nearly as encouraging as he would have like you to believe. Through a difficult fall and even worse winter, talk of top four aspirations reigned supreme, ending only when it became clear that there weren't enough points or quality for Liverpool to punch higher than the seventh spot.
That he was forced into cooling off might have been of benefit to Rodgers, who's shown tremendous growth as a manager on the pitch and off. He successfully navigated a tricky summer with Luis Suarez, acknowledged the importance of the campaign ahead, and, as Liverpool started that season with three wins and a draw to leave them top of the table, hit all the right notes about the long campaign ahead.
And after the loss yesterday, rather than blowing smoke up our collective asses, he owned up to the fact that the squad simply weren't good enough, underlining his disappointment rather than straining and stretching to find positives that didn't exist:
"I think both [the result and performance] were very disappointing, in all honesty. We never really got going from the off - it was a bit lethargic and technically we were short today, so it was a very disappointing result and performance for us. As I said, technically, I was really disappointed today. I thought we never really got going and we were flat and slow in our game. Which hasn't been like us. We've normally started games very well. But we'll just put it down as one of those days and now we need to go on another good run."
It's easy to suggest that there really wasn't anything else for him to say after such a dire performance, and that would be fair enough. Though for a manager prone to a bit of hyperbole, such statements highlight not only the changes he's made as a manager, but hopefully the awareness of changes that need to be made after yesterday's mistakes--in team selection, in tactics, in execution, in commitment--saw the club produce one of their most underwhelming displays in years.