IT’S not been that type of a season for Kopites. The type where games against mid-table teams are a three-point certainty. It hasn’t been for at least three years now. The victory over Wigan was only the third win for us this season; nothing to gloat about. The manner of the victory however highlighted a few things, one such thing being the tactical awareness of Brendan Rodgers.
It goes without saying that the performance of the players and the immense contributions of Suarez, Gerrard, Sterling and Enrique to the triumph cannot be overlooked, but had it not been for an early tactical change by Rodgers, the title of this article might have been much different.
After watching Wigan dominate most of the play from kick-off, Rodgers was incited to make a change in personnel and tact prior to half-time to turn the match in our favour; a decision he would not regret and that must have earned him the faith and respect of at least some supporters.
His decision to replace Suso, who had looked the liveliest member of the team until that point, with Jordan Henderson was without a doubt one that took a keen understanding of the game. I’m sure some might label it as “dumb luck” but I am an astute believer in giving credit where it is due
When asked about the switch post-match, Rodgers had this to say:
“I felt that the organisation at the front end of the field wasn’t what I wanted really, and you make a decision in the game. You can let it run but I always try to use my intuition and what I feel is best for the team at that moment.”
“Suso had some nice touches, he nearly scored but that’s a part of the game. I just felt that I’d flip the triangle around. We were playing two and one, and I felt that it wasn’t so good for us when we didn’t have the ball. Then just flip the triangle round and two players going to join in, and that seemed to work well for us.”
This more than emphasizes that he is paying attention when the team is playing and is constantly looking for ways to remedy flaws he finds, even before the 90 minutes are up. He has come under much criticism for our poor results, as have I for my belief in his ability, but I feel that he is being judged unfairly by most.
Most managers wouldn’t be able to survive the league alone with such a lean team sheet as ours but Rodgers might just pull off second round Europa League qualification and a top ten league spot by January at this rate; a feat he can be proud of and should be lauded for if he manages it.
He may not be as experienced as the ‘Rafa’ most crave, but given time and support with his current trajectory, I feel he has what it takes to leave an indelible mark on this our great football club, or at least that’s how far I’ve dared to dream from what I’ve seen of his football philosophy so far.
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