There were ups and downs aplenty in Rodgers’ reign, but in 2013/14, they came in abundance.
The Leicester City game is fast approaching and the battle for third place is on the line. Here at LFCTR, we explore the impact Brendan Rodgers had as his time as Liverpool boss.
This was the season where Liverpool FC excelled in scoring goals. Rodgers’ Reds registered an impressive 101 goals and finished as runners-up in the league. An improvement by five places on the previous year and 23 points better off.
A 5-1 win over Arsenal on 5 February featured four Liverpool goals in the opening 20 minutes and was to be the first of an 11-game winning run.
This included Liverpool beating their title rival, Manchester City on 13 April, in the same week as the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster.
A subsequent mid-week Manchester City draw meant Liverpool would win the league if they got ten points from their remaining 4 games.
But we all know what happens after that…
Rodgers gave Liverpool fans something to dream about; his attacking/possession based philosophy was fully embedded into Liverpool blood. He gave fans that elusive Premier League dream.
Alas, it would end in tears on the final day but Rodgers gave the fans something no manager since Benitez had, belief.
Liverpool bowed out in the FA Cup in the fifth round away at eventual FA Cup winners, Arsenal. They vanquished their old foes Oldham (who knocked them out the competition the season before) along the way and beat Bournemouth in the fourth round.
Liverpool competed in no European competition due to finishing seventh the year before, how times now have changed!
“When you’ve got the ball 65-70 percent of the time, it’s a football death for the other team. We’re not at that stage yet, but that’s what we will get to. It’s death by football. You just suck the life out of them.”Brendan Rodgers on his possession based football style
This was the Suarez/Sturridge season. The duo scored 55 goals between them (31 Suarez/24 Sturridge). It was also the season where Raheem Sterling experienced his ‘break-out season’ scoring 10 goals in 27 appearances.
Sterling would be another gem in which Rodgers developed and sold off later for a healthy fee to help Liverpool in future years.
In terms of incomings Rodgers oversaw the arrivals of Simon Mignolet, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Illori. Mignolet made an immediate impact by saving a penalty on his debut and would be a Liverpool mainstay for many seasons to come.
Kolo Toure will forever be a cult-like hero at Anfield and was a favourite amongst the fans.
Outgoings saw Jamie Carragher hang up his boots and Andy Carroll sold for £15m. Jonjo Shelvey, Jay Spearing, and Stewart Downing were also transferred out. Pepe Reina and Fabio Borini, Oussmam Aissaidi were all loaned out. The latter two failing to impress after their transfer to Liverpool a year before.
Losing a leader and scouser in Jamie Carragher would be hard for any manager and club to handle. Perhaps his experience and level-headed persona was missed in the big games which cost Liverpool the title (Crystal Palace and Chelsea).
Most Selected XI
GK: Simon Mignolet
DEF: Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Danny Agger, Mamadou Sakho
MID: Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Phil Coutinho
FW: Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez
The season was one of wonder for Liverpool fans who had not experienced a title race for many years, and certainly one not as close as this.
The heartbreak that followed the Chelsea defeat and the Palace draw is something that I have never felt in terms of sporting defeats before, both in my own sporting career and as a fan.
But that is what sport is about: emotion. It would be this that made Klopp’s successes in years to come all the more special.
“I’ve always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope.”Brendan Rodgers on the importance of hope
Brendan Rodgers did what only really Rafa had been able to do since 1990, make Liverpool fans believe again.
His inexorable Liverpool were on fire in front of goal. The excitement and jubilation which followed allowed The Reds to feel like they belonged again among the elite.
This was one of the most memorable seasons in many ways and although it didn’t end in silverware, it would pave the way for success in the future.
In terms of results Liverpool managed to beat their rivals Manchester United, Everton, Manchester City and Arsenal. None of whom they managed to beat the previous year.
Sterling, Henderson, Coutinho, Sturridge and Suarez came in to their own and established themselves as key players. Their development was overseen by Rodgers who encouraged and evolved them be amongst the best in the world.
These players would shape Liverpool’s destiny after this season, whether with the club or not!
To be continued…