Liverpool: Slowly But Surely, Brendan Rodgers Built Top-4 Caliber Squad
After eight games in the Barclays Premier League, Liverpool is in third position on the table behind league leaders Arsenal and Chelsea. Such start was rather unexpected after Brendan Rodgers‘ men finished seventh (behind city rivals Everton) last season.
After a disastrous 2012-13 campaign, Liverpool is doing much better this season. One of the reasons for Reds’ success so far this season is the fact that manager Brendan Rodgers, who arrived at the club in the summer of 2012, was given time to build his squad. He was never put under pressure even when results didn’t come right away. One of the first steps towards rebuilding was to get rid of the players that didn’t fit Rodgers’ style of playing. Andy Caroll, signed from Newcastle for 42 million Euros a year and a half before Rodger’s arrival, was sent on loan to West Ham.
After releasing Caroll, Liverpool signed Joe Allen from Rodgers’ former club Swansea City, Fabio Borini from Roma and Oussama Assaidi from Dutch club Heerenveen. But the two players that really lifted Liverpool are Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, both signed in January 2013. The English striker and the Brazilian midfielder who arrived respectively from Chelsea and Inter Milan turned Liverpool’s season around and helped the Reds’ finish seventh after they had spent most of the first half of the season in the bottom half of the table.
Keeping your best players when you are building a squad is as important as getting new players. Brendan Rodgers understands that very well. When Arsenal came knocking at his door for Luis Suarez, the Northern Irishman made it clear that the Uruguayan striker would not be allowed to leave, especially to a rival club. By refusing to sell Suarez to Arsenal, Liverpool retained their strengths and avoided fuelling the competition. The Uruguayan striker is a world-class player and selling him would have really hurt Liverpool. Since coming back from a 10-game ban, Suarez has scored three times in as many games and has form the best striking partnership in the Premier League with Daniel Sturridge.
In addition to keeping Suarez, Rodgers has signed Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Sunderland, French defender Mamadou Sakho from Paris Saint Germain and Nigerian winger Victor Moses on loan from Chelsea to add more depth to his squad. With Steven Gerrard back to good form, Liverpool is stronger than they’ve ever been in the last four seasons.
After a difficult start to his Liverpool career, Brendan Rodgers has made the right adjustments and Liverpool seems to be back on the right track. He has built a very strong squad capable of finishing in the top four and qualify for the Champion’s League but one or two more world-class players are still needed for Liverpool to dominate England and Europe again.
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