Liverpool FC: Review of the Year, 2015

31.12.2015


It has been a long and arduous 2015 for Liverpool FC, with the club seeing plenty of changes on and off the field throughout the year. Here’s our review of the year.

Year in Review 2015 Header

After a 1-0 away to Sunderland in the final game of 2015, Liverpool sit seventh in the Premier League table, with restored hopes of a top-four finish and an opportunity to secure silverware in three competitions.

This caps a hit-and-miss year for the Reds, who have endured managerial turmoil and significant changes on the field of play—in what was yet another transitional 12 months on Merseyside.

Supporters find themselves in an optimistic position at this point, but it has been a testing year to reach a positive plateau.

Here’s how 2015 unfolded, and what we can take from its highs and lows.

 

A Strong Start

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 10, 2015: Liverpool's Mario Balotelli [hidden] celebrates scoring the third goal against Tottenham Hotspur with team-mates during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Perhaps undermining the enduring portrayal of Brendan Rodgers as a jester, out of his depth on the Anfield throne, 2015 kicked off in style under the Ulsterman.

Ending 2014’s league endeavours on a three-game unbeaten streak after a 2-2 draw with Arsenal and victories over Burnley and Swansea City, Liverpool embark on a lengthy run, securing a further eight wins and two draws in their 10 games between New Year’s Day and mid-March.

This encompassed victories over Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Manchester City, with Philippe Coutinho in shining form after being installed in his natural No. 10 role in Rodgers’ 3-4-2-1.

Rodgers’ switch to this unorthodox tactical structure was the platform for which Liverpool built this successful run of form.

Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho found consistency as the Reds’ back three, while Coutinho’s creativity behind Raheem Sterling as Rodgers’ regular starting centre-forward saw Liverpool strike a fine balance in attack.

This stretch also saw Daniel Sturridge‘s return from injury, with the No. 15 scoring just 12 minutes after being reintroduced in January’s 2-0 win over West Ham United.

Liverpool also continued their push in the FA Cup and took Chelsea to the wire over two legs in the League semi-final, though defeat at the first time of asking against Besiktas in the Europa League round of 32 foreshadowed the misery that was to come for Rodgers’ side.


 

The Inevitable Downfall

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 24, 2015: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard walk off dejected as his side are losing 5-0 to lowly Stoke City during the Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rounding off that 13-game unbeaten league run with a 1-0 win away to Swansea in March, Liverpool would then go on to endure a torrid stream of misfortune from then until the end of the season.

With hope of a top-four finish mounting ahead of a home clash with Manchester United, this representing a must-win game, with a trip to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal to follow.

A goal down at half-time against United, Rodgers turned to Steven Gerrard on the substitutes’ bench, with the captain taking Adam Lallana‘s place in midfield.

But less than a minute after Martin Atkinson blew the whistle for the second half, Gerrard had seen a straight red card.

Just over two months after announcing his decision to leave the club at the end of the season, Gerrard had consigned Liverpool to defeat against their bitter rivals, and this kicked off a turbulent run-in that saw his side lose five and win only two of their last nine league games.

Gerrard’s final game at Anfield saw Liverpool overrun by Yannick Bolasie as Crystal Palace romped to a 3-1 win, with the midfielder’s lap of honour soured by this morale-sapping loss.

A week later, Stoke City piled on the misery, hitting Liverpool for six and ending all hope of Champions League qualification.

It was far from the fitting end for Gerrard, as the Reds finished sixth, and Rodgers had lost the backing of the supporters—though, surprisingly, not that of the owners, with the loss of Sturridge through another injury serving as a key saving grace.


 

An End and a Beginning

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 4, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers walks dejectedly off the touchline during his last hame as Liverpool manager during the Premier League match against Everton at Goodison Park, the 225th Merseyside Derby. (Pic by Lexie Lin/Propaganda)

Despite having seen significant investment on Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren, among others, offer little in return in 2014/15, Fenway Sports Group provided Rodgers with another vast sum to spend in the summer transfer market.

This saw the arrivals of Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings, James Milner, Adam Bogdan, Joe Gomez and Roberto Firmino, for an initial outlay of £77 million.

Buoyed by this promising, and well-researched, summer of spending, supporters headed into 2015/16 with a renewed sense of optimism—despite the continue absence of Sturridge.

This, however, quickly dissolved as results continued to stutter.

Without their captain, Jordan Henderson, who suffered a foot injury in August’s 1-0 win at home to Bournemouth, Liverpool won just one in their next six games.

A 1-1 draw away to Everton brought Rodgers’ death knell, with FSG delivering swift justice hours after the final whistle, thanking the former Swansea manager for his services, with one eye on the future.

It took Liverpool just four days to appoint a successor, and supporters’ wishes were granted as the lofty frame of Jurgen Klopp burst onto Merseyside in the second week of October.

Anfield’s messiah, this was the arrival that supporters had dreamed of.

While it has taken time for the German to settle into life in English football, with nine wins in his first 17 games, Liverpool’s 2015 ends on an unavoidably positive note.


 

Hope For the Future?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 21, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp after the 4-1 victory over Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Arriving at Liverpool with considerable pedigree after seven years of success and genuine, long-term development at Borussia Dortmund, Klopp looks set to spend 2016 stamping his authority on the squad he inherited from Rodgers.

This could see changes in his first transfer window in January, though his comments on the nature of the winter market suggest that an overhaul is not on the cards.

Major personnel work can be implemented over the summer, and Klopp will be hoping to draw targets to the club not only with his reputation and Liverpool’s storied history, but also the realistic prospect of silverware.

Klopp can look to 2016 to secure his first trophy in English football, and continue his push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Big wins over Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton in his first months in charge showed the real Liverpool under Klopp.

The German will be hoping for more to come in 2016, when his ideals can truly come to fruition.

LFC 2015 YEAR IN REVIEW

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29 COMMENTS

  1. 2015 sad news: Captain Fantastic left us.

    2015 good news: Bodging Bodgers finally got sacked.

    2015 best news: Kloppo is here!

  2. Although I’m really glad we have Klopp and think Rodgers had to go, I still feel a little bit of regret. There were times in the 13/14 season where I thought we might have the new Alex Ferguson. I know many say it was all down to Suarez, but I don’t buy that and think Rodgers played his part. He’s not quite been up there with Rafa, or Houllier, but he’s probably 3rd behind them in the PL era.

    • What I’ve always said about Rodgers is this, “he’s got great ideas and is a good coach, but he lacks man management and tactical reading and most importantly the mentality to manage a top club”

      I wish him all the best, the Liverpool job just came way to early for him.

      Yes me to I believe he had his part to play in the 13/14 season, because saying its ONLY because of Suarez is like saying Mourinho, Guardiola, and these kind of managers don’t deserve to be seen as one of the best managers in the world because they’ve always had top class players, yes Suarez helped a lot and made his job easy but still I think BR did have a role to play in that season.

      • Pellegrini only won the title because of Aguero.

        Klopp only won the title because of Lewandowski.

        What nonsense. Anyone who even watches the goals of the 13/14 season can see the immense talent of players like Sturridge, Gerrard, Coutinho, Henderson, and Sterling on display. Just think about the through balls on the counter attack.

        You don’t get a goal difference of +50 from one player scoring 30 goals. Especially since he only scored 8 goals after January (only two goals in that time had any effect on the result). Sturridge won us more points, especially when you consider that Suarez began the season sulking on the sidelines and we didn’t drop a single point.

        During the 10 game ban, we went 7-2-1 with 19 goals scored and just 4 conceded. Was that because we were inspired by his pressure to play for Arsenal?

        • Imo it was 50% Suarez and 50% Rodgers, since he lost Suarez he lost the plot and that’s a fact, he’s a good coach with good ideas, I have respect for him, but he just wasn’t the right man to take us to the top, he still lacks some things.

          He just wasn’t ready for probably the biggest challenge of his career.

          • I’d be inclined to agree if he didn’t also lose Sturridge and, crucially, Balotelli so poorly suited the strengths of our best players – Coutinho, Gerrard, Sterling, etc.

            I suspect that Guardiola would have struggled to get much out of last season with such a dysfunctional transfer strategy. But results are what managers are judged on. Rodgers needed to go, but he still deserves respect for raising our expectations after they dropped away in 08-09. He reminded us that we should be pushing for the title, not just hoping for a CL spot.

          • As I said I have respect for him, and yes he lost 2 key players, but it was still clear to all that he just wasn’t good enough, I wish him the best of luck in his next job, I hope he chooses wisely.

          • He didn’t just lose Suarez, he lost Sturridge for 85% of the season. Fsg replaced them with Balotelli. How is that losing the plot, I’m not sure where fans think liverpool should have finished considering the 3 strikers at the club scored FOUR LEAGUE GOALS IN THE SEASON without Sturridge!

          • It still wasn’t a reason to lose 6-1 to Stoke, lose in the FA CUP semi final in that kind of manner, and then the Hull City and Palace games, those showed that he lost the plot, and then in the beginning of this season he wasn’t good enough, even when you watched Liverpool you could see the players didn’t trust him anymore, they were playing with no passion, changement had to be made.

            Btw he never managed to sort out that defense, after Klopp has come well look at our defense, it’s not perfect but it’s better than how it was for 3 year with Rodgers, look at how Lovren has looked so far.

            As I’ve said, good coach with good ideas but not ready to
            Manage a big club, let’s put this debate to bed for once and for all, I have respect to him and I will forever thank him (and SAS) for that amazing season, but it was time to part ways, it didn’t work, now we’ve got a top class manager let’s all support him and forget about the past!

          • The defence is no different under Klopp than Rodgers still inconsistent. We lost 0-3 at Watford 3 games ago with the defence gifting all the goals to Watford or have you forgot that already.
            Loveren has had a good season with the exception of on massive blunder v west ham early on. He was good before Klopp arrived and has being good since!

          • Nope, he was useless, not until now.

            Just admit they Rodgers wasn’t good enough and let us all move on please.

            We can start talking about Klopp’s failing when he spends hundreds of millions of pounds, for now let’s just see what this squad that Rodgers left us with can really do.

    • Rodgers is on par with Hodgson for me. His comments in the press conferences and interviews completely disenfranchised him with Liverpool supporters, not to mention his results.

      • Hodgson never had 5-0 Spurs, 4-0 Everton, 5-1 Arsenal, 3-0 Man U, or that 3-2 Man City. Hodgson didn’t have our best home record in the PL era. Or most wins. Or best goal difference.

        Hodgson never went for the kill when it was 2-0. Rodgers wanted more than victory. He wanted to demoralize the entire league. Had the club made an irresistible offer for Sanchez, we’d probably would still be doing it now.

        I can’t be @rsed about press conferences. I hear Klopp’s are masterclasses in the art, but I still don’t watch them. In any case, you should probably look up the meaning of disenfranchised. You probably mean disillusioned or something.

        In any case, the results did him in. I’d have given him until Man City, but you can’t argue with bringing in Klopp. I just wish that Fallows, Hunter, and Ayre were given their walking papers, too.

        • I’d say most people i’ve talked to think Rodgers is our worst manager simply because his bad run lasted 18 months compared to Hodgson’s 6 months

          • Yet for the first 10 weeks of 2015 liverpool were the most inform side in Europe as the article above alluded to. 8 wins 2 draws. 33 from 39 points between the united games. How is that a bad run! There are things to question/ criticise Rodgers for such as Why did sterling down tools from April onwards, what happened the morale of the players after the united game etc. but anybody who claims that title challenge was the worst management is absolutely cracked in the head. That squad punched so far above it’s weight it’s barely believable! Ally Cissokho played 20 games lb, Moses and Aspas attacking options off the bench! To run city to 2 points was miracle work!

          • you wasted your time writing that as I can’t take a fool like you seriously. Go fantasise about Rodgers now, cya

  3. picture of both managers speak a million words. Klopp is a coup – what we need is 40-50% success in transfer market from current 5-10%.

    • “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

      Dave Fallows. Barry Hunter. Ian Ayre. Mike Gordon.

      “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

      • Reallly hope Fsg have learned from their mistakes and don’t handicap Klopp the same way they did Rodgers. A lot of anti Rodgers sentiment on here has Klopp on a very high pedestal. Hope he is not being set up for a fall by the fickle mob mentality that is our ” louder” fans!

  4. Strange that only Sturridge’s injury is mentioned. The success of the back three – which saw us play 22 games (all comps) with 12 clean sheets and just one loss – was down to the balance of Can and Sakho. Losing Sakho to yet another lengthy injury destroyed that balance.

    Flanagan – who Rodgers clearly would have favored at RB over Johnson (or Can) – was another injury. Lallana spent most of the season injured or recovering and Lucas saw lengthy spells out, as well.

    No mention of Sterling downing tools post-interview after the club offered derisory contracts (somehow that is seen as Rodgers’ fault). The time table for all of the injuries (Sturridge, Sakho, Flanagan, etc.) and the interview are late March, early April. We were 5 points off the top 4 until Gerrard gets a 3 game ban.

    The event that defined the season – and to an extent continues to do so – is the decision to replace Suarez with Balotelli. The strengths of Coutinho, Gerrard, and Henderson were negated by a player with no pace or movement or work ethic,nor the positional discipline to remain in the penalty box. The effect was a loss of a clear identity that was visible as late as the Dortmund pre-season match just before his purchase.

    A side with breathtaking telepathy descended into the morass that we continue to endure with a squad who seems chosen by a kaleidoscopic committee, rather than a single manager with a coherent vision for attacking play.

    Klopp, a breath of fresh air, inherited a side with no clear strengths and identity. The fact that Dave Fallows, Barry Hunter, and Ian Ayre continue to be employed by the club is extremely worrying, especially as Klopp had very little involvement with recruitment at Dortmund. The good news is that many of our investment/gamble players are coming into their prime years.

    Rodgers did well in getting the most of young players like Flanagan, Sterling, and Ibe, as well as making very good players like Suarez and Sturridge into global elite players. Klopp has a reputation for the same, so once our year-long injury crisis settles down, hopefully we can see similar league results. And hopefully we are on our way to a 2nd trophy since 2005-2006 (though I’d rather see a title push, truth be told).

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