On 1st June 2012, Brendan Rodgers was unveiled as the new Liverpool manager following the departure of King Kenny Dalglish.
He guided his previous club, Swansea City to the Premier League and with Rodgers at the helm, he led the club to a 2011 Play-Off Final win over favourites, Nottingham Forest.
In these trips down memory lane, we explore the role Rodgers had in his tenure at Anfield, but also the foundations which he laid for Jurgen Klopp’s successes after him.
There are things to be noted along the way in terms of Liverpool’s progression during and after Rodgers, such as the problem of spending £117m in the transfer window on too many new players.
We explore the fact that Liverpool often found themselves struggling to reach the top four and Champions League qualification (remember those days?).
And finally we look at the role which Rogers had in forming the successes Liverpool have had since his departure.
Hold on tight, it’s a pretty emotional ride.
Swansea were impressive in the Premier League under Brendon Rodgers and played a possession based game: a tactic he would employ and utilise to the Merseyside club.
In his first game, Rodgers led his new team to a 1-0 victory over Belarusian club Gomel in the UEFA Europa League.
However, in his first league game as the Liverpool boss, he succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at The Hawthorns.
His first league victory came against Norwich City in September with a 5-2 win. Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick, as he tended to do against The Canaries.
Disappointing Debut Season
Liverpool found themselves embarrassed as they were knocked out of the fourth round to Oldham in the FA Cup after losing 3-2 to the League One side.
The Reds eventually finished seventh in the league, one place higher than the previous season and nine points better off that the 2011/12 season.
Rodgers’ Liverpool didn’t manage to record a win in the league over their bitter rivals Manchester United or Everton, and also found themselves winless against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea.
The result of the season perhaps came against Rodgers’ former team Swansea, with The Reds winning 5-0. Liverpool also recorded an away win at St James’ Park beating Newcastle 6-0.
It was a real sting in the tale for most fans would be the fact their great rivals, Everton and Manchester United, finished higher in the league.
Rodgers’ philosophy though was embedded in the Liverpool team who experienced more highs than lows, especially with the likes of Luis Suarez finding his feet in this budding Liverpool team.
“It’s not just about training players, it’s about educating players. You train dogs.”Brendon Rodgers on developing players
In the Europa League Liverpool bowed out in the round of the last 32 after losing to Zenit St Petersburg 3-3 on aggregate and on away goals.
Suarez led the way in terms of goals, hitting the back of the net 30 times in all competitions with Sturridge (11) and Gerrard (10) some way behind the Uruguayan.
In terms of transfers, Rodgers ushered in his former player Joe Allen, along with Fabio Borini and Oussama Assaidi in the summer window and added Daniel Sturridge and Phillippe Coutinho in January.
The obvious two standout arrivals are Coutinho and Sturridge who would both go on to shape the fortunes of Rodgers’ revolution. Coutinho was eventually sold under Jurgen Klopp to fund the Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker transfers which turned Liverpool into Champions League and Premier League winners.
The Coutinho saga was a monumental transfer in terms of 2019 and 2020 Champions League and Premier League success. Rodgers brought the Brazilian in for just £8.5m and he must be credited with Coutinho’s growth and development that allowed Liverpool to sell him at such a premium.
Coutinho came in from Mourinho’s Inter Milan and was instantly a fans favourite as a silky magician in originally a wide attackers role before being deployed as a number 10.
Rodgers saw Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy and Fabio Aurelio amongst others leave Liverpool.
Kuyt is the obvious cult hero which stands out in terms of departures, but the blossoming Raheem Sterling would become a key player for Rodgers who would go on to take Kuyt’s place on the right side of attack.
Most Selected XI
*From First Season
GK: Pepe Reina;
DEF: Glen Johnson, Danny Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jose Enrique
MID: Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen, Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard
FW: Luis Suarez
Brendan Rodgers inherited a squad made from the Dalglish and Hodgson era. His first season in charge was never going to set the world alight as he tried to establish his style and philosophy on this Liverpool squad.