For once, Liverpool enjoying a break from European football
Brendan Rodgers demanded patience from the fans last season when Liverpool were going through a stormy phase in the Premier League, especially at the beginning of the season. Fast forward this season and the man has not only proved his class but defied all skepticism about his football philosophy and ideas. Cynics who criticized his football knowledge as self-constructed myth have all but now hymning praise of his genius ability. The Reds second in the Premier League, confidence over-flowing like a cascade at Anfield – the man has turned it around. Rodgers knows.
The impediments are still there – both external and internal. While Rodgers is still trying tooth and nail to sculpt the squad according to his own taste, star striker Luis Suarez’s situation still dominating the Liverpool transfer news feeds is one of the biggest headaches for Liverpool, something they need to solve this season. Already, they have won the battle in the Suarez saga; they now need to win the war with him.
So far, Rodgers and Liverpool have handled everything well. And it is reflecting on their performances. Somehow Rodgers has been able to inject a sense of belief among his players. The progress is there for us to see.
Can Liverpool mount a serious challenge for top four? They probably don’t have the sufficient squad depth like some of their other rivals have but there remains an outside chance. And they have to take those. There is hope.
Rodgers has a core group of players with him and they are his only hope of taking Liverpool to the place they want to reach. All he is looking for is to carry the momentum to each and every game. And that’s why I believe, losing out of Europe has been a blessing in disguise for Liverpool this season.
For teams that enjoy a large squad, it is easier for them to rotate players and prepare simultaneously for multiple competitions. Same is not applicable for Liverpool at the moment. Had they been playing the Europa League this season, Rodgers probably would have struggled to focus on both. It could have been a good bedding ground for developing academy kids, but nothing more than that. Rather, it would have disrupted the continuity of gradual progress and momentum in the team.
Of course, players want to get out to the field and challenge for titles, but this lack of extra football will give Rodgers not only a ‘space’ to prepare his team well for upcoming matches (more time at hand) but can give sufficient rest to his core group of players. For Liverpool to finish in top four, which should be their only concern, these core group of players need to stay fit and strong till the end of the season.
This early momentum should now give them the necessary fillip to take it step by step from here on. But, with Rodgers at helm, Liverpool fans can dream again. Yes, they can.