Liverpool FC have been through a lot inside of the last decade. The break up of a once hallowed franchise began as what looked like a slow dissolution that was suddenly hastened as Champions League winning coach Rafa Benitez saw his squad gutted piecemeal before being let go from the job. Then, the dam opened as the Season of the Hodgepocalypse settled in.
Once Fenway Sports Group came in to right the ship, a lot of damage had been done. Liverpool looked a wounded giant. Enter Brendan Rodgers. The young manager was fresh off of a successful season in which he helped steer an underrated and attractive attacking Swansea side into promotion to the Premier League and a mid-table finish in that first year in the top flight. Rodgers wasn’t the big name that most fans wanted, but he was a young manager with energy and the ability to work with a squad in the need of rebuilding.
Rodgers’ tenure with the Reds is a bit of a mixed bag. He had the cringe-y moments in Behind Liverpool. He mismanaged Raheem Sterling. He insisted on Christian Benteke because he simply did not rate Roberto Firmino. But he also showed tactical flexibility in running a two striker set up instead of his beloved 4-3-3 to accommodate a partnership in Daniel Sturridge and that First Guy Who Went to Barcelona and Bit People that went on to be one of the most prolific in the top flight. He took Philippe Coutinho out of a nightmare scenario in Italy and worked him into being the class player he always looked. He lead Liverpool to the closest they’d ever been to claiming a Premier League title to that point.
Rodgers has a lot to be proud of when reflecting on his time at Anfield. And based on his comments to the official site ahead of this weekend’s clash with his Leicester City FC, Rodgers still has rather fond memories of his time with the Reds.
“I’m really looking forward to going back. I had the real privilege of managing there. So much learning took place for me at Liverpool. I always take the positives when I analyse my time there.”
Rodgers also mentioned being excited at seeing Jordan Henderson and James Milner once more - a pair who, along with Roberto Firmino - are among the last holdovers from that era with Rodgers.
It looks like things are generally positive on either side of this battle. Here’s hoping that while we keep things generally upbeat, we also go out there and claim all three points in this match. Mostly because I don’t want Jamie Vardy to have nice things.