Football

Brendan Rodgers is maturing as a manager

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Monday night demonstrated how Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is maturing as a manager.

Rodgers has often been criticised for his insistence to play his passing philosophy and his refusal to change it under any circumstance.

However, Liverpool's second half performance against Arsenal at the Emirates proved that the Northern Irishman is willing to ditch the pretty, attacking football in order to get a result.

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The Reds dominated proceedings in the first half and somehow didn't find themselves ahead at the break after a couple of wonder saves from Arsenal's Petr Cech.

Missed opportunity

But it was the performance after the interval that may have pleased Liverpool fans even more. Rodgers knew that Liverpool had missed their opportunity to take the lead in the first half and was well aware Arsenal would improve dramatically in the second 45.

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Instead of continuing their attacking football, Liverpool resorted to a deeper defensive line, less players joining the attack, less high pressing and a more direct approach up towards the lone striker of Christian Benteke. Very un-Rodgers like. But they ground out a point, something they hadn't done at Arsenal the previous two years.

Fight

Rodgers has assembled a squad that wants to fight for their club. Yes they have flair players that, when in possession, are capable of magic (See Coutinho turning Bellerin inside out). But when out of possession, every single member of the squad is industrious. Coutinho himself is very hard working defensively. New signing Roberto Firmino is, surprisingly, a workhorse. The energy in midfield with the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Emre Can makes Liverpool a very hard working team indeed.

If Rodgers had continued his first half philosophy of high pressing and fast attacking football, Liverpool may have snatched a goal and held on. But Rodgers was conscious of Arsenal's attacking talent and knew leaving space by pressing high up the field would leave his defence exposed and probably resulting in an loss.

Bold decision

It was a sensible and bold decision from Rodgers and one that paid off. A lot of Liverpool fans were concerned at splashing £32.5 million on Christian Benteke because he didn't suit Rodgers' philosophy. On Monday we saw how key the Belgian forward is when the manager decides to revert to a more direct style of play which suits Benteke's magnificent hold-up play.

Rodgers' Liverpool can no longer be called "one dimensional" having discovered there is more than one way of playing the beautiful game.

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Topics:
Football
Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool
Premier League

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