Back in 2014, former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers took the Reds to the brink of their first Premier League title since 1990, while playing a thrilling brand of football that was spearheaded by the attacking trident of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and a young Raheem Sterling. The Reds ultimately fell short of their goal following a harrowing home defeat against Chelsea at Anfield, of course, while Rodgers’ tenure unravelled and came to an abrupt end just 18 months later.
Despite coming within touching distance of a truly stunning achievement, however, Rodgers remains a much-maligned figures on the Anfield terraces. This attitude contrasts sharply with the high esteem in which current manager and Rodger’s successor Jurgen Klopp is held, as fans continue to celebrate the German and retain high hopes of Champions League qualification.
Why Klopp is Following a Careworn Path
If you compare the Anfield careers’ of Rodgers and Klopp, however, you will see startling similarities that are hard to ignore. Both assumed control of the club after a difficult period in the club’s history, for example, guiding Liverpool to seventh and eighth in the Premier League during their first season at the helm while also showcasing glimpses of what fans could expect in the future.
Not only this, but Rodgers and Klopp also endured their fair share of cup disappointment while in the Anfield hot-seat. Under the Ulsterman, the Reds suffered semi-final defeats against Chelsea and Aston Villa in the League and FA Cup respectively, while Klopp’s side were beaten in both the League Cup and the Europa League finals last term. Both managers have also come under fire for their recruitment policy and inability to secure a vulnerable defence, preferring instead to negate this weakness by placing an emphasis on attack.
The stats also highlight a staggering symmetry between Rodgers and Klopp, with the first 85 games in charge yielding almost identical results. In fact, Rodgers’ win rate of 52% during this time is superior to Klopp’s (48%), while the Reds also scored more goals under the premiership of their former manager. In terms of league form, Rodgers and Klopp share the exact same record, winning 26 out of 54 games, drawing 12 and losing 16. During this period, Rodgers’ side scored just three more goals than Klopp’s 11, while the the current Liverpool outfit have also been more generous at the back.
The Bottom Line: Could Klopp Follow Rodgers’ Reds Career Path?
Forecasting the potential career longevity of Premier League managers is difficult, particularly in the current climate.
Make no mistake; however, Klopp is fast approaching the first tipping point in his Anfield career. Like Rodgers, his future success depends heavily on Champions League qualification, as this will empower him with the necessary funds and credibility to invest in elite-level players, strengthen his threadbare defence and create the type of squad depth that can sustain his high intensity, pressing game for longer during a typical season.
Without this, or some silverware to help build belief and momentum, Klopp could find himself repeating the same cycle of promise and disappointment that put paid to Rodgers’ tenure. In the meantime, if the German want confirmation of just how quickly things can change, he should drop into Parkhead and reminisce with Rodgers about his own time at Anfield.