Almanac Soccer – Brendan Rodgers: So Close, Yet So Far

Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Everton on the weekend was the final game in charge for Brendan Rodgers. Later that evening he was told his services were no longer required by the clubs owners, the Fenway Sports Group, and now joins a list of managers who have tried and failed to bring the glory days back to Merseyside. Since the inception of the Premier League Liverpool have never won the title and while there has been silverware won such as FA Cups and most notably the Champions League in 2005, Liverpool have not been able to compete with the likes of Manchesters United and City, as well Chelsea in the EPL.

The closest the club came to the elusive title was in the 2013/14 season when Liverpool led for most of the season, but unfortunately slipped up against both Chelsea and Crystal Palace to lose the title to Manchester City. The Chelsea game you could say was the start of the downfall for Rodgers’ time at Anfield.

Before the game Liverpool were riding high on an 11 game winning streak and Rodgers was being compared to the great managers at Anfield such as Bill Shankley and Bob Paisley. Rodgers seemed to embrace the history of Liverpool and not feel overwhelmed by the pressure put on by supporters desperate for a return to the success the club had in the 70’s and 80’s. Of course having Luis Suarez in career best form helps, but other players in the squad were playing above themselves. Sturridge was proving to be a good foil for Suarez, Couthino was weaving is magic in the No 10 position and Gerard was having an Indian summer in a holding midfield role. However it all came crashing down on the 27th of April 2014 when Jose Mourinho led his Chelsea side out against Liverpool at Anfield. Mourinho of course hired a young Brendan Rodgers only a decade earlier to head Chelsea’s Youth Academy and he endorsed Rodgers’ move to Liverpool.

The game was a strange affair with Liverpool attacking Chelsea all guns blazing and Chelsea happy to absorb the pressure and try to catch the Reds on the break. I thought it was strange for Liverpool to attack with brazen effect as a draw would still have been a good result and then get the win at Crystal Palace. It seemed Rodgers wanted to prove to his one-time mentor Mourinho that his style was the way to go for the EPL and would bring the title his way.

Now, it is easy to blame Steven Gerrard for the slip that gave Chelsea the first goal, but what about the second goal and the 3 goals conceded at Palace in the final game of the season? There was kamikaze defending by Reds that ultimately cost Liverpool the EPL title they have been chasing for over 20 years.

At this point, Rodgers seemed to lose his touch. After the expected sale of Suarez to Barcelona, the transfer funds were wasted on Balotelli, Lovren and Lallana failed to live up the standards that would enable Liverpool to make a title bid and Rodgers also put trust in the players in the current squad who continuly let down Liverpool with their errors that have cost them games. So in the end Rodgers was so close to glory, but like so many managers past did make the correct decisions to get the Reds over the line.






About Vaughan Menlove

Obsessed with Richmond, Luton Town, Melbourne Victory and Arsenal. The Dr had a soccer career hampered by the realisation he was crap, but could talk his way around the game. Co host of It's Not Called Soccer podcast


  1. I was sitting in a bar in Trieste last night “reading” the sports newspaper. Scorelines are universal. A headline caught my eye “Klopp for Kop”. Apparently the former Borrusia Munchengladbach manager has the inside running for the job.

  2. cowshedend says

    Very nice piece Doc.
    Did a pretty fair job Rodgers , they have frustrated me and many Scouse fans for nearly 30 years.
    The thing that Bill Shankley had was a board committed to a manager who had their support to chase any player he needed to ensure they were the best.
    Until the Yanks start releasing the purse strings the Kop may as well sing “We’ll never win again”!

  3. From my piece last year:
    “From all accounts, Rogers has had a galvanising effect on a team that is moderately high on talent but hadn’t yet gelled together and lacked the depth of the richest clubs. Liverpool players are constantly subjected to the demands of a huge, passionate and success-hungry supporter base that draws on the club’s proud, bloodied history as a source of expectation that LFC should be constantly great, even when the quality of their playing list suggests otherwise. It must be an unenviable task to manage these conflicting pressures, but it’s one Rogers has performed superbly in his short time at Anfield. No less an authority than Gerrard is quoted as saying Rogers is the best people manager he’s ever encountered and that LFC must move immediately to re-sign him. (Fortunately it appears that moves are afoot to do this).”

    mmm…well maybe I was a bit optimistic. Let’s hope Klopp is as successful at Anfield as he was at Dortmund.

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