Liverpool FC – The Post-Suarez Era
September 12, 2015
Yet, he played mostly as a center-back, and sometimes as a full-back, in an attempt from Rodgers to make the 11 players on the pitch flexible in terms of formation. More experienced, accomplished managers such as Jose Mourinho, Massimiliano Allegri and Roberto Mancini are, failed to make something of him, and despite the obvious talent, Balotelli is still constantly falling short of his potential, his ability to focus, his football intelligence, work-ethic, discipline and team spirit being under constant bombardment from the critics. As for Lambert, a tall player with much strength and little speed was expected to feed on skillfully threaded passes, the cunning footwork of Coutinho, instead of sending high crosses into the box. The option was believed to be activated by 20 appearances for Liverpool, so Rodgers carefully avoided the boy crossing the magical number 19. Balotelli is considered widely as a striker that gives most output in a partnership, and the away 0-3 victory against Tottenham was a good example of that. But when Sturridge got injured, Balotelli spent most of his time on the pitch as a lone striker. His long-ago spoken words “judge me after three years” came to mind, as well as “a team that spends over £100m in a single transfer window should be winning the title”. Before that, he had spells at Watford and Reading. Also, many people feel that his man-management skills thoroughly failed the test with Mario Balotelli.
After the nightmare at the Britannia Stadium at Stoke, he had a long meeting with the people from FSG in charge of the club. Probably the last one.
Of course, the first question that springs to mind is why the boy was even signed. The loan was then cut short, and he was sent back to Madrid. As wrong as it gets.
However, the very next season indicated that this was probably too big a step for the Northern Irishman. The team failed to achieve any of the goals set by the owners of the club, that supposedly being to reach the top 4, to win a cup and to work on developing the young players in the squad. When the season ended, Rodgers had spent three years as the Liverpool manager, and became the first manager in 50 years of club’s history not to have won a single trophy in that time. The 2013/14 season and the unexpected title charge saw his reputation rise rapidly. Many started calling for him to be sacked.
Many people blame Rodgers for not utilizing players optimally, with again Balotelli and Rickie Lambert being the case. Now he has joined Olympic Marseille. The club had spent nearly £120m on new players the previous summer. Balotelli is well known for his lack of social skills, to put it mildly, often previously displayed by disruptive and sometimes aggressive behavior on the pitch, as well as causing problems away from it. He was slowly entering the “big-boys’ game” as Liverpool were expected to continually challenge top teams in England and fight with some strength for a Champions League spot.. It was decided that he will be given another chance. To be fair, Can did relatively well as a center-back in a line of 3 at the back, but his energy and creativity was sorely missed in midfield.
It would seem that having an inexperienced manager without a single trophy in his career, at such a high level, is taking its toll. Partnered with Daniel Sturridge, Balotelli was a real handful for the Spurs’ defense. Rodgers had previously claimed that Mario Balotelli would NOT be joining Liverpool, and indicated several times after that signing the Italian was NOT his decision.
Upon his arrival, Brendan Rodgers was widely perceived as someone with a lot of potential for becoming a truly great manager, having impressed during his two years of managing Swansea.
As mentioned before, Javier Manquillo was on loan at Liverpool from Atletico Madrid, a two-year loan with an option to buy. On loan, again.
Lazar Markovi? is very useful when he plays as a classic winger, an attacking midfielder, or even a second striker, paired up with a classic center-forward. During his first season at Liverpool, he played mostly as a wing-back, sometimes even a full-back, and it’s not that hard to fathom the reasons for his failure to impress. Many players were played out of their natural position, and while one might argue that this probably helped the development of Raheem Sterling, it very much hindered that of Lazar Markovi? and Emre Can. The season was thoroughly revised. The same can be said of Emre Can, who has shown time and time again that as a box-to-box central midfielder, he can be the driveing force of the team