What do these ten league results from Brendan Rodgers’ tenure have in common?
Aside from the fact that they’re a very impressive set, they are also the league results that have directly followed league defeats for the Reds whilst Rodgers has been in charge.
Look at those results again for a second. Eight wins in a row, with two draws prior to that, is not to be sniffed at.
Of course, it could be argued that Liverpool shouldn’t be losing most of those matches, but the fact is that under Kenny Dalglish (Mark II), the Reds lost three league games in a row twice, and had further two-in-a-row runs of defeats twice too.
In only three of the twenty Premier League seasons prior to Rodgers taking over did Liverpool go through the season without losing more than once in a row, yet Brendan managed it last season and has continued his run in this campaign. The only other sides to match this feat last season were United, City and Chelsea; the top three, in other words.
It is inevitable that Liverpool will lose games now and again, and usually play poorly in the process. What is key, and what Rodgers has displayed to date, is recovering from the disappointment swiftly and getting back to winning ways.
However the Reds actually played in the above matches, and the performance at Sunderland was certainly not warmly received even if the result was, this is certainly a very impressive recovery record to have.
Although most of Liverpool’s performances have had their issues this season, consider the composition of the front and back of the current Liverpool starting eleven for a moment.
For starters, Mignolet, Toure, Sakho, and Moses have all played eight-or-fewer matches for Liverpool, and are still bedding into the side. Toure has already had an injury, and Sakho and Moses haven’t played much in the months preceding them joining the Reds either.
A goalkeeper and his back four need a good understanding in order to thrive, and as well as the aforementioned three players, Martin Skrtel has returned to the side having been nowhere near it over the second half of last season, and Enrique is having to be managed through an injury. As Liverpool are playing with what is essentially a new and patched up back five, a few issues are to be expected.
Up front, Daniel Sturridge had no pre-season (though with five goals and two assists in the league already, you might not know it), and one week ago Luis Suárez hadn’t played for Liverpool for five months. It’s encouraging that they linked up well at the Stadium of Light, but their partnership is still very much in it’s infancy.
In view of all of this, it does not surprise me that performances have been disjointed, and that Liverpool have been unable to exert the control that Brendan Rodgers is presumably looking for, especially in the second halves of games when legs inevitably tire (and indeed Rodgers seems mysteriously reluctant to freshen things up with substitutions for some reason). Yet the Reds clearly seem to have a plentiful supply of ‘bouncebackability’, and as young side they should improve with more playing time together.
With their 2012 tally of forty-six league points matched in 2013 with fifteen games to spare, there are plenty of reasons to think that Liverpool can kick on from here.