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27 Feb 2015

[Guest Post] Youth Fail? Why Rodgers shouldn't be praised for the rise of Sterling/Ibe

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[GUEST POST] As far as debunking Liverpool myths go, I’ll gladly leave that to the proprietor of this website, but I do feel something needs to be said about all the recent raving and praising of our manager and his eye for the young talent at our club.

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.



  1. Agree. Our academy is really underutilised.

  2. Yeah don't really agree with that too. If anything he probably favours young players with potential too much (or club policy). What we need this summer is 2 or 3 experienced quality players to compliment all the youth that he HAS given a chance to.

  3. He is talking about academy players.

  4. Is that sarcasm?

  5. He knows that but he's just pointing out that the players he buys are young too, so it makes no sense that he would shun academy players because they're young.

  6. Liverpool have a youth policy therefore a number of Rodgers buys will be young thats a given.
    The point Eric makes is clear that Rodgers has preferred the more experienced heads when they were available early on and he did.
    Lets see how many more of these academy kids get a run and how well they do elsewhere before condemning Rodgers utilisation of academy youth though.

  7. That was necessary though mate, our squad was threadbare

  8. Read an article the other day that stated that the real hero is scout Mel Johnson found Sterling ,Ibe and Ojo . he since been fired !!

  9. Would have liked a little more quality but i will admit most are starting to put it together.
    I was kind of hoping there would be a few more gaps for the kids to get a look in but yes it was and has been threadbare for a long time.

  10. Thing is we tried for Sanchez and so forth, our problem at this time isn't intent to buy quality, it's our ability to close the deal. To that end if our targets are unavailable then there's no point spending massive amounts of money on a third or fourth choice 'big name' player. Anyway arsenal have spent big on Sanchez and Ozil and haven't improved at all. United spent an absolute fortune and have not been at all impressive despite their slightly flattering league position. We're still very much a work in progress and last nights debacle aside, we're progressing well

  11. I liked the article. Well done Eric!

    I hope that Johnson, Allen, Coates, Jones, Enrique, Lambert, Balo and probably Borini get the boot this summer and we backfill them with 3-4 proven studs and 3-4 top internal youth prospects. Shouldn't be all or nothing. Depth is critical with tournaments but we may not CL next year and that will detract from recruiting the caliber of proven talent we want / need especially 2 strikers and a goalie.

  12. No mention here at all of coaches ability to develop young players. It's one thing to give a young player his chance which Rodgers has done, but another to develop them in the way he has.
    Rodgers best in league for giving youth a chance and developing those youthful players

  13. Yes i understand the part about getting quality i think in certain cases it may well be the dough we offer with the wage structure this window will bed interesting a lot of sales a few buys me thinks.

  14. Article pretty much spot on.. I understand hesitancy BR (and other PL coaches) show with young players. Fans should watch youth football, and be realistic about academy kids. The names mentioned are some way off, I feel, certainly at present, and may not make it at the club, along with most others. Only Brannagan, Ryan Kent, and maybe Harry Wilson, seem to demonstrate the requisite technical ability that (down the line) may give them a chance.. but they're still very much boys..nowhere near as physically developed as Ibe.

  15. and spotting them and then convincing them to join Liverpool in the first place .

  16. So why did Suso not make the cut ?

  17. Liverpool have steadily become less attractive to decent players since the days of H and G i dont think the club has completely recovered.
    Give it time it will but a big name manager is not the only thing that attracts players money is usually numero uno by a mile.

  18. We will not attract top quality players to this club, as long as this horrible and useless manager remains at the helm. I am finding so difficult not too get personal about this guy, I truly believe he is a imposter and should never be at a club like Liverpool. If we cannot find a top class manager.....how can we attract top players. Enough said I am seething at the very sight of him.