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Liverpool reaping the rewards of a collective mindset


Liverpool's head coach Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool's head coach Brendan Rodgers

AFP/Getty Images

Liverpool's head coach Brendan Rodgers

Most of us would make terrible owners or CEOs of football teams. The reflex response from fans when their team is struggling is generally to sack the manager and keep the turnover going; at least it'll keep things interesting and hey, he can't be worse than the last guy.

Clearly fans know huge amounts about their teams, and generally believe they'd be better than the incumbent manager. Sometimes it's even true. It's not all one-way traffic though and beleaguered managers can find succour in unlikely places.

A recent poll by the Manchester Evening News found 80pc of United fans valued results over style. It was seized on by Louis van Gaal as proof that the fans know what they're doing even in the face of mounting criticism.

He might in time be sorry if the team's results don't vastly improve that he was so quick to accept a fans poll as justification for his methods. What goes around comes back around, this is football after all.

For Liverpool fans, recent form has been something of a mystery. There was general concern that Liverpool had bought duds to replace Luis Suarez, that Brendan Rodgers had been incredibly lucky to manage the Uruguayan in the first place and that maybe his time had passed.

That mid-December period seems like ancient history now. Rodgers rode out the storm. His players improved. He was tactically smart. Obviously he wasn't sacked but neither were the owners ever whispered to be considering it.

We had Sean Dyche on the show recently talking about how the most important thing at any club is that there's a collective agreement between the board, manager, players and fans on where the club are going. It sounds so obvious.

Yet there's clearly half the Premier League where that isn't the case. Liverpool, once the individuals started to mesh, appear to have this. The owners have patience and a long-term plan and the manager is someone capable of fostering new talent and, it appears, of making radical change when the situation requires.

The challenge will be to keep the momentum right through to season's end. Either way everyone believes in Rodgers again. But he should have been sacked in December, right?

Irish Independent