There’s only one Brendan Rodgers. His name was sung so loud it’s still reverberating round Anfield, bouncing off that glorious scoreboard that’s probably a little worn out from trying to keep up with Liverpool this year.
Another unbelievable scoreline in an unbelievable season of thrashings, which has seen teams not just beaten, but humiliated, begging for the whistle to blow so they can taste the sweet relief of defeat. Crawl back to their team coach and drive far, far away from that hellish place where teams go to die. Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers has not just met his own challenge of making Anfield a fortress again, he’s smashed it. At times Liverpool play at a pace and ferociousness that is simply unplayable. Big teams, little teams, teams who play in blue and get ideas above their station, all have been annihilated in front of the baying red crowd. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
At some point it’s easy to imagine Rodgers striding onto the field as in that famous Gladiator scene, as yet another team lies broken, and scream “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”
Rodgers has done so much, in so little time it’s easy to forget what he took on. A side struggling in the league, in serious need of rebuilding with no real plan or style. Sure, the football wasn’t bad, but from one week to the next you never got a sense of what a finished Liverpool side would be like.
Well we do now, and it just put 4 past the league leaders in under 20 minutes. It made the film 300 look like a Disney fairytale. It was brutal, relentless, terrifying. Wave after wave of pressure, smashing Arsenal into submission then going again. And again. And again. That, was death by football.
If you cast your mind back, Rodgers inherited a side that amassed just 52 points in the league that season. We lost as many matches as we won, and 5 of those defeats came at home. It featured Andy Carroll and Charlie fucking Adam, ambling around the Anfield turf like a hippopotamus with veins full of nougat. It was as it finished up, an 8th place side.
In two short years under Rodgers’ stewardship those 52 points has become 50 before the second week of February. We’ve already won one more match than in the whole of that season, with 13 games left to go. His Liverpool, who went top of the league at Christmas, have won all but 2 games at Anfield, only one losing blip on the home record. The Carroll’s and Adam’s are long gone, their lumbering movements replaced by incisive, intelligent attacks by the likes of Coutinho and Sturridge. It’s a remarkable change.
But it’s not over. And that, perhaps, is the most impressive thing. We look like a genuine top 4 side, and he’s not even finished his second season here. We have a style, a swagger, a real plan that we’re moving forward with every game. He has made mistakes, he will continue to make them. He is young, and as this young team grows, so will he, its a learning curve we are going through together, and one I wouldn’t want to go through with anyone else.
I fucking love Brendan. I love his wonderful, soothing voice. I love his blindingly white teeth that could guide ships in the fog. I love the way he celebrates our goals, I love how he talks about “the group” and says “outstanding” a lot. The man wore a brown suede suit for fucks sake, I can’t not love that.
I could go on and on about how he’s turned Henderson around, somehow improved Suárez even further, got Sturridge into world class form, shown balls over team selection, brought youngsters through and helped them grow. I could espouse for hours on his talents and how we’ve been flexible, fluid and changed tactics and formations throughout the season to great effect. I love all that stuff and more, but what makes me really love him, is something I never expected he would do.
In the back of many fans heads, deep down where it’s dark and it’s gloomy and where those memories of defeat and the Hodge lie, he’s lit a fire. A faint, flickering glow that’s making us hopeful. Making us believe, if just for a moment, that we can not just come fourth, but win the fucking thing. He’s taken what we thought was possible for our young side, and thrown it out, replaced it with a Liverpool that’s mental, exciting, unfathomable, beautiful.
To borrow that little banner on the Kop from one of those glorious Champions League nights, slowly but surely, he’s making us dream.