In recognition of his considerable achievements with his club this season, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been named the League Managers Association (LMA) Manager of the Year at a ceremony held Monday evening.
Like the PFA Player of the Year Award, the Manager of the Year award is the highest honour given out by the LMA and was voted on by Rodgers' managerial peers from all 92 clubs in the Premier and Football Leagues. Rodgers had been a front runner for the honour for most of the season, but at the eleventh hour many sources were reporting that Tony Pulis was set to take the award for his own considerable work at Crystal Palace this season.
Rodgers is the first Liverpool manager to ever win the prize, which has only been awarded annually since 1994 and thus largely overlaps with a less successful period for the club. The only other Liverpool manager to ever receive acknowledgement of any kind from the LMA was Rafa Benitez, who earned the Special Merit Award in 2006 for winning Champions League in his first season at the helm of the club.
Rodgers' delivery on goals set at the start of the season speaks for itself. Liverpool qualified handily for Champions League, added twenty goals and then some to the overall tally from the previous season, counted his players amongst the top two league scorers and assist makers, nearly broke the Premier League single season scoring record, coached a player to tie the all-time individual scoring record in a 38-game season, had three players nominated for PFA Player of the Year, and he did it all with largely the same squad that finished seventh the previous year.
Quantifiable credits aside, one hopes that an association of managers also takes into consideration the very important task of man management as part of their decision making, for it's in this area that Rodgers truly excelled in 2013-14. You can't count teamwork nor assign numerical values to buying into an ideology, and you won't find any great statistical analysis about a team's camaraderie, but they're all things that contributed significantly to the stats you can count and they're what made the difference between last year and this year.
I suppose you can count those things. The value is five: five places in the table is what good man management is worth. Liverpool will have to find another league to play in if they finish top of the table +4 next season.