There aren’t many head coaches in the so-called modern football capable of doing what Brendan Rodgers is currently doing for Liverpool. The Northern Irish manager developed the Reds’ football to such an extent, that there is no turning back for them right now. The Argentinean football master Marcelo Bielsa did something quite similar for Athletic Bilbao two years ago and the Basque team is currently harvesting the profits of what the Professor has sown during the years he was in charge.
When Brendan Rodgers arrived at Liverpool back in 2012, despite the good work he developed at the Swans, no one would certainly imagine how much the Reds would change while he was in charge. As some others great minds in modern football (Beskov, Bielsa, Rinus Michels, Romantsev, Mourinho, and Guardiola), Brendan Rodgers is something like a football scholar, an avid reader who analyses the game to its smallest details and displays great expertise over all the tactical aspects of football.
4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1: the Northern Irish manager seems to know it all, from top to bottom, from every single goalkeeper move to the exact place the poacher should assume on the pitch to net in a cross from the wings or to sentence an elaborated attacking move that started on Steven Gerrard back in his own half. Rodgers experimented with several different tactical approaches this season, all exploiting the opponents’ weaknesses, and Liverpool is currently the only team at the English Premier League (and certainly one of the few in European football) capable of embracing such different tactical approaches as a 4-4-2 Diamond or a 4-3-3 and maintain the same high quality standards in their game.
There are currently several Liverpool’s players that have somehow rediscovered themselves after this change of mentality and the new game ideas Rodgers implement in the team. Luis Suarez, despite all the issues, looks more dangerous by the day and his goalscoring instinct has also been refurbished. Coutinho is developing quickly and he is not just that flamboyant attacking midfielder with great technique skills he used to be past, he works more for the team now and he looks more tactical aware than ever.
Sturridge has definitely rediscovered himself and he is proving to be highly efficient, both when playing alone in the front or side-by-side with another forward. However, there is one player that, despite being already 33, is the key element for Liverpool’s game in Brendan Rodgers’ era: Steven Gerrard. The English international midfielder proved that you are only as old as your spirit and he managed to embark on what is probably being one of the best seasons of his already long career. Whether playing as a deep lying playmaker or as a box-to-box, Gerrard seems to be mastering it all as Liverpool’s attacking game relies on the experience and skills of their captain. The English midfielder is the “all seeing eye” of the team as he manages to quickly move the ball round and put up some high quality long passes deep into the flanks or at the back of the opponents’ defence line.
Liverpool is currently experiencing one of the best moments of their recent history and if it wasn’t for some defensive sloppiness (the team has already conceded 40 goals in the league so far) one could claim that the team is near of tactical perfection. No matter what the future holds for him and for his Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers is already one of the best managers at European football currently.