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Comparing Rodgers to Laudrup is unfair

TEAMtalk guest Daniel Newbould believes Brendan Rodgers should only be judged at the end of his Anfield contract - and is doing fine for now.

Last Updated: 01/03/13 at 14:02 Post Comment   

Brendan Rodgers: Being Liverpool boss is big business

Brendan Rodgers: Being Liverpool boss is big business

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Last weekend's dominant Swansea performance in winning this season's first trophy left many disgruntled Liverpool fans envious of the job Michael Laudrup has done with the Welsh outfit.

Given he was one of the candidates the club looked at before plumping for Brendan Rodgers, some Reds fans are pondering what might have happened had the club opted for the charismatic Dane rather than Rodgers, envisaging skipper Steven Gerrard lifting that League Cup trophy rather than being dumped out of the FA Cup by Oldham and the Europa League by Zenit St Petersburg.

However, what needs to be realised is that Liverpool's problems lie much deeper than that solely of the manager - especially when the manager in question has proven himself on the Premier League stage already.

When Rodgers was given the Anfield job he was handed a project for a club in major transition.

Analysing the job he has done seven months in, it can only be seen as a work in progress and fans wishing Laudrup would replace Rodgers this summer or had been selected instead of him are barking up the wrong tree.

Managers aren't miracle workers, and as hard as it is for me to admit it will be a long time before Liverpool FC are challenging at the upper echelons of the league - whether it is Rodgers or Laudrup in the hot-seat.

What should not be lost on Liverpool fans is the fine job Rodgers did at Swansea. Yes, Laudrup has delivered some silverware - but Rodgers kept the Swans up in their first-ever season in England's top tier with a net spend of less than £7million.

Also, Laudrup's success has been achieved with foreign players, while Rodgers' model was based fundamentally on home-grown British players, something he is trying to replicate at Anfield. With the exception of Ashley Williams - who was a key part of both teams - for Spanish centre-back Chico Flores see 21-year-old Englishman Stephen Caulker, for Dutchman Jonathan De Guzman see Welsh dynamo Joe Allen, for classy Spaniard Pablo Hernandez see Scott Sinclair and for goal-getting frontman Michu see Danny Graham.

Let's not forget that Swansea only wanted Laudrup when it became clear Rodgers wanted to leave for Liverpool. Prior to this, the club were delighted with him.

Laudrup would have represented a gamble for Liverpool given his relative lack of experience in English football and his failed stint at Spartak Moscow, compared to Rodgers' success in taking Swansea to the Premier League and keeping them there in some style.

Managing Liverpool is completely different to managing a team like Swansea, where expectations and ambitions are far lower - so Rodgers himself needs to be given time to adjust to these greater expectations.

For a team like Swansea, survival is seen as a successful season and anything else is an added bonus.

For Liverpool, they are expected to at the very least challenge in all three domestic cups as well as in Europe - and a trophyless season is still seen as a disappointment.

The two jobs are incomparable, so judging Rodgers and pining for Laudrup is a dangerous game as the Dane is working under far less scrutiny, both from the stands and in the media spotlight.

Nevertheless, Laudrup does deserve immense credit for recruiting the likes of Michu and Chico Flores under the radar - and dispelling with ease the notion of 'second season syndrome' at the Liberty Stadium.

Replacing Rodgers is not the answer for Liverpool, though, as their problems have built up gradually over a number of years - and will take years to iron out.

The winds of change are sweeping across Merseyside already, with club legends Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher nearing the end of their illustrious careers.

It will be hard to find anyone like them, let alone of a similar calibre.

The club is in a stage of integrating home-grown young British players into the team, but given their performances when they were dumped out of the FA Cup by Oldham, with both Gerrard and Carragher on the bench, it will take time before they can be relied on to perform week in week out.

Rodgers identified Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson as two players who would improve his playing staff - but neither of them were delivered by the club's hierarchy, who are still counting the cost of luring the likes of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson to the club.

Rodgers does not deserve to be judged so early into his three-year contract - and having finished seventh, sixth and eighth in the last three season, their current eighth-placed position is par for the course.

Given this is Rodgers' first season in charge of a team in transition and his project has only just started, the criticism from some fans is uncalled for.

Raheem Sterling has emerged as a major English talent under Rodgers' tutelage, Glen Johnson's all-round game is improving and both Henderson and Downing are displaying more maturity as each game goes by.

There is a visible improvement in the style of play, too, with the Reds' free-flowing football sparking a significant lift in Luis Suarez's end-product. The Uruguayan talisman has netted 18 league goals already this season compared to 11 in the whole 2011-12 campaign.

Suarez is no longer carrying the goal-scoring burden, either, with Daniel Sturridge so far proving a shrewd acquisition to a team that this year have scored 22 goals in nine games on English soil.

Having won three of the last seven and produced impressive away performances at Arsenal and Manchester City, I feel there are plenty of positives to cling to as we enter the final furlong of this season.

Lying three points off sixth place and with eight of their last 11 games against Wigan, Aston Villa, Reading, West Ham, Fulham, QPR, Southampton and Newcastle, a glut of points could be coming our way.

So let's give Rodgers his three years and then judge him.

To once again achieve success on a long-term basis, we may have to accept some short-term failures in the faith that he will once again get us fighting for the most coveted silverware in the game.

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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