Smells Like Team Spirit
Bill Shankly’s 100th anniversary of his birth has recently been celebrated by Liverpool Football Club and it is a tribute to Liverpool’s greatest manager that Liverpool are playing with a hunger and passion that he demanded from his players.
Shankly demanded 100% from his players and current manager Brendan Rodgers has his players singing off the same hymn sheet as Bill Shankly’s men.
Brendan Rodgers has taken over Liverpool with a few similar circumstances that Shankly faced. OK, so Liverpool are not in the second division and Anfield is not the “biggest toilet in Liverpool” anymore, but Anfield Stadium is in need of modernisation and Liverpool have fallen from grace in recent years after the disastrous ownership of Gillett and Hicks and Liverpool’s current American owners are striving to bring back the glory days.
Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and even Tottenham Hotspur have overtaken Liverpool nowadays and Rodgers has the tough task of bridging the gap that has widened between these clubs to make Liverpool a top four club again.
Liverpool can’t compete in the transfer market against these clubs until they get back into the Champions League and Liverpool have had to alter their strategy and buy young players with potential or players like Sturridge who need the chance to prove themselves.
Liverpool’s new transfer policy has impressed so far with players like Coutinho, Sturridge and also free transfer, experienced defender Toure coming in who brings great experience alongside Liverpool’s youngsters. Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers cleverly reduced the wage bill along with bringing in new faces.
Moving high earners like Carroll, Downing and Reina during the summer was a clever piece of business although Liverpool still paid big money for players they felt would take the team forward under Rodgers’ plans. Signing Mignolet and Sakho did cost a lot of money but Liverpool have learned their lessons from the past days of overspending on Carroll, Downing and Henderson.
Shankly moved many players on who he knew were not good enough to play in the Red shirt and shaped his team with his own signings and Rodgers is doing the same with his team.
Like Shankly Brendan Rodgers had a difficult start to his career at Anfield by only winning two of his first ten league games in charge. But over the course of last season Liverpool have showed signs of improvement and now with this summer’s transfer dealings Liverpool look to have a stronger squad with players that Brendan Rodgers wants in his team. The mix of youth and experience looks like the perfect combination along with the emergence of youngsters breaking into the first team from the youth set-up.
Liverpool have enjoyed their best start to a season in many years and although only three games in Liverpool find themselves top of the league with three wins in three games. But the victories have shown how the team is growing under Brendan Rodgers with some great football being played in the Stoke and Villa wins and many goalscoring opportunities being created. Then there has been the steely determination shown and great desire to battle for the victory when under pressure witnessed in the Manchester United game and also in the second half of the Aston Villa victory.
There have been some tremendous examples of commitment shown already in this young season highlighted by Gerrard flying into tackles against United and the crunching challenge by Glen Johnson on United’s Patrice Evra which led to Liverpool’s right-back having to leave the field, Sturridge played the ninety minutes against Manchester United with an injury and his determination to play paid off as he proved to be the difference on the day with the only goal of the game. This is only a few examples of commitment that Liverpool players are showing under Brendan Rodgers’ leadership but it shows how much the players are playing for their manager.
In similar games Liverpool would have lost goals and drew or lost these type of closely contested matches but there is a collective will to win within this group of Liverpool players Rodgers’ has assembled. This group of players are showing the type of determination and spirit that Bill Shankly installed in his team and this quality is vital in any successful team.
You can have the best players on the planet but without “team spirit” you won’t win anything and Liverpool seem to be heading in the right direction with a talented young squad complimented by a determined attitude that Bill Shankly would have been proud of.
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