First of all, this is in no way intended as a dig at Rodgers. He has shown his ability and courage by making the changes to Liverpool's system, and he is chiefly responsible for the fact that we're currently close to finishing inside the top four.
However, in my opinion, the praise Rodgers receives for allegedly 'giving youth a chance' at Liverpool is undeserved, and wide of the mark.
Jordon Ibe is the latest addition to the list of young talent for whom Rodgers is credited. I don’t think you’ll find many Reds out there who will say they’re not too sure about the former Wycombe man. He’s taken the Premier League by storm and, in fairness, looks even more promising than Raheem Sterling did.
I can’t help but wonder where Ibe would be if all of our summer transfer deals were successful. I can’t shake the feeling that Rodgers was told clearly by FSG that if he wanted new players in January, he’d have to look internally and he would not be receiving any funds. With everyone else misfiring, there was little left to lose by bringing Ibe back and throwing him in the deep end.
I recently read an article naming Sterling and Flanagan as proof of Rodgers’ eye for talent. Flanagan, however, got his first chance under Dalglish and it wasn’t until Rodgers was flat out of options at left back that Flanno was brought back into the team.
Lo and behold, it worked and Flanagan did a decent job, but now that our system has changed to a back three, Ibe may actually be pushing him out of the club. Flanagan is a solid, old school right back but Daniel Alves he is not.
And then there's Sterling. When Rodgers first arrived we were in the midst of an injury crisis and he'd just blown his budget on Borini and Allen. There was little else to do but Suso and Sterling, but as soon as the underwhelming Stewart Downing was back on his feet, the youngsters fell out of the squad again. Sterling didn't re-emerge until last season. Suso is now at Milan.
Just like the managers before him, Rodgers only gives opportunities to young players when his hands are tied and his back is against the wall. He has lots of managerial qualities, but taking a chance on young, hungry, talented players is not (IMO) one of them.
Liverpool have an exciting crop of youngsters emerging right now, but past history suggests that they will only make it if Rodgers is forced (by circumstance) to give them a chance. As long as enough senior players are fit, we shouldn't expect the likes of Rossiter, Ojo, Smith and Sinclair in our lineup or the bench any time soon.