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Rating Rodgers' Reds: Year Zero

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In the wake of a particularly demoralizing defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, questions have again arose regarding the current Liverpool boss and, in particular, the signings made during his tenure. Today, the first in a three part series offers its own dressing down of Rodgers' arrivals lounge.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

This week has been a particularly tiresome time to be a fan of Liverpool Football Club. As if such a dismal showing in the FA Cup semi-final wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of supporters, social media has been awash with the same tedious memes and invitations to Steven Gerrard's rescheduled birthday bash. A renewed sense of humour has been discovered among rival fans, with jokes mostly at the expense of Brendan Rodgers, whilst even the most ardent of his admirers have been guilty of urging Klopp to the Kop.

It just all feels a little too hollow at the moment. Right on cue, the same old faces have resurfaced, crying foul of the manager's methods, track record and transfer policy. They're the same exhausted excuses that, if anything, serve to detract from wider criticism of the manager. Conveniently, these fans are conspicuous by their absence when things are going as planned for the Northern Irishman, and make no mistake, in spite of the overblown reaction to Liverpool's woeful Wembley display, he has got it right more often than not in his time on Merseyside.

That, however, hasn't stopped such bastions of journalistic integrity, the Daily Mail and Telegraph, from weighing in with their own unsolicited tuppence worth. It is their scathing evaluation of Brendan Rodgers' incoming transfers that inspired this piece. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, their verdict consists of entirely fabricated media narratives, such as hailing Mamadou Sakho as the second coming of Djimi Traore. To their credit, though, they haven't allowed facts to devalue a good story, even going as far as to brand the juvenile Joao Teixeira another "Rodgers flop," despite the Portuguese starlet being signed a good five months before the Liverpool manager took to the helm. Whoops.

In this three part series, we're going to take a far more measured approach, without buying into any lazy cock and bull falsehoods. We start with the famed 'Year Zero,' the season of rebuilding with a vision to success and sustainability. Brendan Rodgers arrived tasked with offloading the team's high earning underachievers and, over the course of two transfer windows, begin to implement his philosophy. Seven players arrived that season, with varying degrees of success, as Rodgers was left with egg on his face having failed to adequately replace the West Ham bound Andy Carroll.

Fabio Borini > A.S. Roma > £10.5m
The young Italian stiker arrived in Liverpool as the first signing of Brendan Rodgers' reign. A Europa League goal on his Anfield debut promised to deliver the 'excitement' his manager had predicted, but an injury plagued campaign meant Liverpool fans saw his trademark celebration only once more in 2012/13. After a relatively successful season on loan at Sunderland, Borini had the option to make the move permanent but opted to remain on Merseyside, where he's struggled to see much action since.
Verdict > Miss

Joe AllenSwansea City£15m
Brendan Rodgers spent his infancy aggressively pursuing his former stalwart and finally landed his man in August. The Welsh Xavi, as he came to be known, was head and shoulders above the rest of the roster in his first few months, but dipped in form while playing through a shoulder injury. Reliable and tidy, Allen has carved himself a squad place at the very least, although he remains a polarizing figure among fans.
Verdict > Hit

Oussama Assaidi > SC Heerenveen > £2.4m
While not strictly a Brendan Rodgers signing, the Moroccan winger was pursued by FSG in earnest of their resident stats guru. He was an inexpensive punt that didn't work out, and the club actually managed to turn a profit on him with just twelve appearances to his name. That, and he was a fucking juggernaut on FIFA 13, so we can't find it in our hearts to dismiss his contributions entirely.
Verdict > Miss

Nuri Sahin > Real Madrid > Loan
After fighting off interest from Arsenal for the Turkish holding midfielder, it seemed Brendan Rodgers had struck gold by landing Sahin on loan, thanks to his relationship with the then Madrid manager. Even still, none of us can work out what exactly went wrong, but Sahin's relationship with Rodgers was strained early on. Add in rumours of internal politicking from Steven Gerrard, and you get an early loan termination agreement. Nice hair, though.
Verdict > Miss

Samed Yesil > Bayer 04 Leverkusen > £1m
Thanks to the recommendation of former defensive stalwart Sami Hyypia, Liverpool acquired the services of 'the New Drogba' without much fanfare. Spending most of his time with the U21s, bar a couple of League Cup appearances, the German striker generally impressed until two cruel ACL injuries kept him out of action. He's on the road to recovery now, though, and Michael Beale can't wait to have his 'second to none' finisher back in the side.
Verdict > Jury Still Out

Daniel SturridgeChelsea£12m
If the summer transfer window was underwhelming, January was inspired. Under the guidance of the newly formed transfer committee, Rodgers spent the month of December sounding out Daniel Sturridge after allegedly curtailing a move for him previously. Questions of fitness and temperament somewhat undermined his arrival, but he proved to be nothing but a model professional, and embarked on a record-breaking goal streak since. 2014/15 has been frustrating for the England international, having missed the majority through recurring injuries, but he'll be determined to come back stronger than ever next season.
Verdict > Hit

Philippe Coutinho > Internazionale > £8.5m
In a move that somewhat flew under the radar as rumour mills were rife with news of a bid being lodged for Wesley Sneijder. As it turned out, Liverpool poached an entirely different playmaker from Inter Milan, and one whom had failed to live up to his potential so far. The Brazilian showed glimpses of his stardom in his first six months at the club, but continued to go from strength to strength. With the departure of Luis Suarez, the #10 has taken on the mantle of Liverpool's best player, recognized by his name present on the ballet for the Premier League's annual awards.
Verdict > Hit

TOTAL HITS: 3
TOTAL MISSES: 3
SUCCESS RATE: 50%

Not bad, you might say, but not particularly good either. Liverpool went on to finish 7th in Rodgers' maiden campaign, a marginal improvement on the season prior. In hindsight, the summer window proved to be a non-event, but reinforcements in the form of Sturridge and Coutinho in January drastically changed the shape of Liverpool's squad and their subsequent title challenge the following season. Next time, we'll take a look back at the players that arrived in time for 2013/14, and contributed to arguably the most exciting and emotional Premier League journey for Liverpool to date.