The advantages of simple continuity

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Melwood training LFCLAST week, you’d have been forgiven for thinking that the season was already over as the headlines were dominated by the managerial merry go round.

Unless you’ve been on Mars for a while, you’ll be well aware that Alex Ferguson is finally stepping down from his position as manager of Manchester United and that David Moyes is to leave Everton to take over from his fellow Scot.

What’s more, it has been very strongly rumoured that Manchester City will be replacing Roberto Mancini (possibly with Manuel Pelligrini) and it is widely anticipated that Chelsea will dispense with Rafa Benitez, in favour of restoring Jose Mourinho to the top job.

After my joy at the news that Ferguson is retiring at last subsided, my thoughts quickly returned to Liverpool FC and how our club might be affected by these high profile managerial switches involving four of the six teams who’ll finish above the Reds this year.

New managers bring new styles with them; they affect the continuity of the club; they may bring new training techniques; they have different personalities, attitudes and back room staff. These differences can be subtle or pronounced and they can achieve positive or negative results, both in the long and short term. What is guaranteed by replacing the manager is that change will occur and, more often than not, that change requires a bedding-in period.

Liverpool are heading into next season in a position of relative strength. For the first time since the beginning of the 2009/10 season, the Reds will begin the season under a manager who has already overseen first team affairs for a full season. This is something of a novelty these days, and Reds fans may find that they’ve forgotten the advantages that simple continuity can bring.

Rather than having to construct a team from the ground up, Rodgers task is now to supplement the squad he has by adding quality in key areas. There is no bedding in period to get through – that’s been taken care of already. Rodgers is now totally familiar with his players and they, likewise, are now well versed in both his personality and his methods.

This has begun to show, more and more as the season has progressed, in results and performances. The team is coming together nicely, and a strong finish to the season has come as a welcome surprise to those who might have expected a less committed end to the campaign.

Since the 0-2 defeat away at Zenit, Liverpool have lost just once in 12 games in all competitions; winning 7 and drawing 4, scoring 29 goals and conceding just 10. Although squad augmentation is necessary in the summer, particularly in defence, for the first time in a long time wholesale change will not be the order of the day.
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Most Liverpool fans are agreed on the areas which are in the most urgent need of strengthening. Jamie Carraghers’s retirement and Martin Skrtel’s fall from grace would indicate that at least two top centre-backs will arrive in the summer. Their identities remain unclear however, with Williams, Alderweireld and Douglas amongst those who’ve been linked heavily to the club in the press.

A strong defensive minded midfielder is also likely to be sought (one who’s a little happier mixing it with the Premier League’s bully boys) with Celtic’s Victor Wanyama a candidate. A covering left-back and a good second-choice goalkeeper are also high on the priority list this summer in order to bolster defensive options, with Lucas Digne of Lille and Guillermo Ochoa of Ajaccio reported targets.

It has also been widely suggested that the Reds are very keen to bring Christian Eriksen of Ajax to the club. The Dane is an attacking midfielder of immense promise and would, should Liverpool win the race to sign him, be a fantastic addition to the squad.

There will, of course, be some movement the other way. It seems certain that, providing a buyer can be found, Andy Carroll will be moving on and, despite recent protestations by the manager, Skrtel appears likely to go too. Jay Spearing, recently named Bolton’s Player of the Year, may well finally leave Anfield permanently. There could one or two more departures, with question marks over Jonjo Shelvey and Stewart Downing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t.

The scouting team has been in place for some time now, and should be well positioned to follow up on the successes of securing Sturridge and Coutinho by identifying and targeting players who can make just such a seamless transition to life at Anfield. Another savvy transfer window and all of a sudden the Reds would begin to look menacing; with added depth and quality, and much more to come from the likes of Joe Allen and Fabio Borini, Liverpool’s squad would be a genuine concern for the new men in charge in Manchester.

There’s every reason to be optimistic about the summer and season ahead. The Reds are a resurgent force, finally beginning to look stable after years of lurching from crisis to crisis. The current side is performing well, playing exciting, attractive football, scoring goals and winning games even without its “star” performers. With a full complement of its best players, a good, sensible pre-season and the benefit of continuity – something others won’t enjoy – there’s no reason to think the Anfield club can’t hit the ground running in August.

It’s been a long season, a frustrating season at times, but Liverpool certainly look a better side for it. After several years of instability, uncertainty, frustration and disappointment, the shoe is finally going to be on the other foot.

Four of the Reds biggest rivals face a certain degree of upheaval in the season ahead and, as a consequence, the next campaign is likely to be one of the most open competitions in Premier League history. For the first time in a long time Liverpool are in a position of relative strength, and may be well placed to take advantage.

You can follow Neil on Twitter @Neil1980 and on his blog http://itsallinthegameblog.wordpress.com/
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  • Will says:

    I’ve seen we’re in for Papadopolus (sic) on twitter. I would be happy with that and Ericsson. Nothing more needed.

    All the teams you mention will still have vastly superior teams and the constant changing at Chelsea hasn’t done them much harm previously. Good teams will adapt quickly.

    I’m positive but I think with additions the best we could hope for is 3rd next year and that is a perfect scenario. Realistically 5th. Don’t think we should be getting our hopes up too much relying on others instability. We’ll get better.

  • Dean Fitzpatrick says:

    Get diame in,sell shelvey downing borini and Allen,make a bid for Rooney too.Micah Richards and Douglas defence wish,hope jack Robinson gets a chance next season

  • Matt says:

    If we spend well in the summer on bringing in the right players then there’s no reason for us to be competitive. Our biggest problem this season has been consistency, one week we look like the most unbeatable team, the next week we play poorly lose badly or a nil all draw. I feel we have made little progress this season but we are playing the best football I have ever seen and scoring plenty of goals. If we start well next season it will bring much needed confidence and moral for our season. Come on you Reds. YNWA.

  • David Tobin says:

    Another delusional article. We are miles away from the top teams and going nowhere under clueless Rodgers.

    The top 4 will spend big and improve. We are stagnating.

  • Shibashis says:

    People who praise the owners get a lot of slack these days. I am not really praising them that much but it has to be said that they have brought an idea of stability finally to the club. As the article points out, with a full season behind Rogers and his coaching stuff, the club actually can look forward now. It is a different argument what would have been under a different manager and ownership, but with the current regime in place there is an opportunity for optimism at least.

    • bob says:

      its NOT stability .. its stagnation
      wake up … FSG are here to make money , their ‘plan’ has no chance of success . its naive to think otherwise

  • Jayhexx says:

    I dont no where most of Liverpools fans watch our games,,weither behind the t.v screen..liverpool has really been exiting to watch and really progressed week in week out,,for sure by next season with the right additions we will be very competitive….am strongly with rodgers,,call him wat u like,,but he will bring the glory days back.

    • ? says:

      Very well said!! I think most people that comment don’t even watch the games.

    • bob says:

      pure delusion . i watch my games from the annie road . i doubt people who delude themselves into thinking everything’s ok even know where anfield is

      rodgers is a poor out of his depth championship manager , who will be sacked within 12 months

      i cant actually believe ANYONE is stupid enough to think this second rate manager , who has never won or achieved anything , will bring success

      its total wishful thinking

    • Mark Henry says:

      Shut the f— up

  • Kay says:

    Sack him now, while every other team is replacing managers, that way we won’t be playing catch up next season. We all know he can’t match the calibre of managers being mentioned among all the clubs that finished above us, so WHY waste time?

  • Abraham says:

    And you Rodgers brigade, does exciting football win a football match? Because clearly thats all you see as improvement under Rodgers and that is simply delusional.

    • stevieG says:

      Yes. Anyone can play attractive football. It’s not hard. It’s winning that matters ans that is another thing Rodgers is poor at

  • GAZ says:

    See the stupid Spanish Waiter has only gone and “ruined” another club eh? Top 4 from 6th last season Plus a European trophy ..pathetic stuff.

    Are you watching Aldo, Whelan, Lawrenson and other know-all LFC Leg-Ends? Not to mention Carragher himself.

    No doubt the usual suspects will be out trying to convince us that success is actually failure or that the credit is due somewhere else (it was Houllier’s team -right?). Presumably these are the same people who make out they prefer the “fresh approach”, top 8 finishes and European incompetence of Hodgson, KD and now Bodgers – not to mention their obviously superior transfer dealings.

    Have it your own way boys. With a bit of luck we could achieve a stirring (or should that be “woeful”) 61 points this season. Enjoy the open top bus tour.

  • Craig says:

    Even if we win the prem next season all the trolls on here( you know who you are) will still complain about somthing. People believe what they want to, i once spoke to a season ticket holder that told me carra was crap. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me but he was adament. Some people dont want to wait for success, they want it now. But without crazy funding success takes time and hard work. I for one understand this and so do most fans, but as you can see on this site not everybody thinks the same

    • Erin says:

      Crazy funding? 120 million spent by Kenny, 50 plus by Rogers.
      Now! That’s crazy spending. Do you need a list of players? Of the top of my head, Carrol, downing, Allen equals 70 million without wages paid!!!!

      • Craig says:

        But your only seeing the fee, your discounting the lower wages those players we bought will demand and also how the fee was set. Did we hand over 20 mill in total for 1 player? Or was is spread over x amount of years? What about the torres cash we would have had as a lump sum, to then pay the first installments on those 16-20 mill you mention.
        We as fans don’t really understand how the club is run. The owners are createing a business that will keep our club profitable without the need for some rich kid that wants to play with a new toy for a few years. Remember how bad it was when h&g were in the news promising everything and almost folding us.
        Rodgers has slowly built his team with allen & borini then sturidge and coutinho, he has downing performing better and hendo is getting better under his management.
        Ok we had a slow start, but look at our progress in the last few months. 2 more signings this window and another 2 in jan and we could finish in top 4.

        • Dennis says:

          If you see progress take yourself back to the mental hospital

        • stevieG says:

          Absolute tosh as usual . I think Craig needs to pay more attention in school b4 spouting his absurd opinion

    • Dennis says:

      Your the troll Craig. A total dope . Get a clue you loser

      • Craig says:

        You offer nothing to Liverpool FC Dennis.
        Your not a fan or a supporter you just a watcher.

        • Olsen says:

          Your just stupid craig , really really stupid

          • Craig says:

            Explain why ?

            You haven’t got a clue you mug, you couldn’t run a bath yet you think you could run Liverpool FC.

            And Dennis that goes for you too.
            You have never shown any support for the owners, manager or the team on here. So how can you call yourself a supporter????
            I have evertonion mates that don’t slag LFC off as much as you.
            But then again you use words like LOL so your obviously not from Liverpool.

          • David Tobin says:

            You constantly talk nonsense Craig. You have never shown one bit of knowledge or understanding about our club

            You live in a magic fairy land cut off from reality. It’s no wonder other readers ridicule your comments

          • Dennis says:

            Lol . Aren’t you clever ? You can tell where I’m not from by the quick text language I use ?

            Hahaha . What a fool . You don’t know how I support the club , just as u have no idea about football as your inane comments prove

            Lol . You are embarrassing yourself Craig. Keep it up .

          • Craig says:

            Ok lets get this right david, i talk about fsg running a business at a profit……. Your plan is to spend loads of money we don’t have, but i’m the one that lives in a fairy land????

            That makes total sense, thanks for clearing that up david

            And dennis, why do you follow the club of a city that your not from, the people of Liverpool don’t support leeds or stoke we are red or blue.
            Your just a tag along with an awfull negative opinion. About 4 of you on here just troll with your negativity of the players the owners and the manager. How do you support this club? Have any of you posted 1 positive comment on here????

          • Dennis says:

            Once again silly boy Craig is trolling with his misguided opinions.

            He presumes I am not from Liverpool because I used lol ..ha ha ha – so by his reasoning nobody on Merseyside uses lol. This kid is a total dope and I’m not the only one who thinks so

            David never said anything about spending loads of money
            …ha ha ha. this muppet makes it up as he goes along , either that it he can’t read

          • stevieG says:

            Dont know why you guys are bothered trying to educate craig. ..he is obviously only about 9. His close your eyes and everything is going to be ok attitude is soooo immature

            Liverpool are going through their worst period in over 50 years and this happy clapper wants to pretend everything is ok…it’s no wonder this club is in the sh!ts

        • Dennis says:

          You offer nothing to the human race Craig
          Your just a troll with biased naive and very childish opinions

          • Craig says:

            Read davids comment above you muppet
            ” the top 4 will spend big in the summer, while were stagnating”

            Surely david is suggesting we need to spend big to compete???

            And people in liverpool do use the word lol, but their normally 12 and female.
            I’m not even sure why i would give you the time of day anyway, as you have never given me any reason to suggest you understand how a football club is ran. Your just a one liner keyboard troll, just like bob,gaz and the other accounts you have set uprepeating the same mantra over and over even when we win 5-0, 4-0 etc.
            Brendan Rodgers, a pro footballer,then studies under jose mourino,takes a swansea into the prem for the first time in their history and finishes 11th in his first season. Ok he didn’t do to well at Reading, but remember rafa was sacked by inter so being sacked by a team doesnt make you a bad manager.
            He’s then taken the job with us, been told to cut down the wage bill and given limited funds by the owners. He still manages to finish higher than last season and has us playing some of the best attacking football in the league. The goals are proof of this. Yet you…. Some nomark has the front to say he is crap and we should get rid of him. What qualifies you to make these bold comments???? Do you think that cos you watch my citys team on sky that you know how to manage a football club. I’m from liverpool and when i speak to reds in the pub they would have to back up their opinions with some facts or proof, but is seems on the internet you can just talk *and never have to back it up.
            Keep up the good positive work your doing for Liverpool on here, we are really luck to have you behind our club.

  • Craig says:

    How do i have my eyes closed stevieG(original by the way )

    You can have yoyr eyes wide open and moan untill your blue in the face but what have you achieved?????? Nothing.

    I’m supporting my club. Not just when their winning cups etc.

    Your whining and moaning has gotten you nowhere.the club is going to keep doing what its doing regardless of your negative trolling, so why waste your time

    You should try looking at the clubs motto “you’ll never walk alone” You might learn something.

    • fotheringham says:

      Total tw@t Craig.

    • Dennis says:

      Delusional Craig is back trolling again witches little fantasies LOL

      If Craig is such a supporter he must have supported hicks and Gillett too, and Hodgson

      I imagine Craig was saying “oh no don’t sack Hodgson – he is making progress”
      “leave hicks n Gillett alone , they know what they are doing”

      If you didn’t support them , then ur a hypocrite

      Your not a supporter Craig , your a sheep . ‘fans’ like u are doing more harm than good. And u dont have the intelligence to understand what’s going on at our club

      • Craig says:


        • Craig says:

          Will you still be here when we start winning trophys again? ?

          I hope you are.

          • Dennis says:

            Little troll Craig won’t answer the question . Did ‘mr supporter’ back Hodgson and H&G ? Or does he even know who they are

            FFS , this loser doesn’t have a clue !!

          • fotheringham says:

            I repeat . Total tw@t craig. Grow up

      • stevieG says:

        Leave craig alone , he is just a confused little kid

        • Dennis says:

          No he is delusional ( and fkin stupid)

          • Brian says:

            Craig has a point, you guys above have talked alot, but the comments you make are always negative and don’t explain anything about what you claim you know.

            Rather than just slagging everyone off, why not tell us why he is wrong

  • James Rose says:

    Any 1 can sit n chat crap, the lad made some good valid points. Seems like he supports the club n tries to see the positives, he’s right about you guys just moaning. Have any of you done anything other than moan to help the club. Give BR another year n if he fails to improve on this years finish then slag him off. We cant just keep sacking managers n expect to win things.

  • Craig says:

    I was fooled by H&G at the begining just like the rest of us, but hodgson was doomed from the minute he joined Liverpool, and like the rest of you i believed that Kenny was a better option.
    But if your asking was i still supporting the club during all the mess we were in, then the answer is yes. Did you pause your support untill it was over? Booing and holding banners at the match doesn’t motivate the team. The alternative to fsg is a hedge fund like the glasiers or a rich billionaire like abramovic. We need to start living within our means untill we get cl money again.

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