2 Mar 2014

'Genius': Roy Evans hails BR's 'magnificent decision' to switch-round £43m LFC trio

Like Liverpool's Champions League victory over AC Milan, the Reds' 3-0 victory over Southampton was the proverbial game of two halves, and according to former LFC boss Roy Evans, Brendan Rodgers deserves massive credit for his tactical decisions in the second half of the game.

Analysing Liverpool's win over Southampton, Evans - whose underrated LFC teams played some of the most exciting football of the last 20 years - admitted that his old club struggled in the first half, but praised Rodgers ability to change the game. He explained:

"It wasn't a perfect display, but the manager made a magnificent decision to take off Coutinho*, who wasn't having his best game, and to put Allen* and Henderson* out wide, where Southampton were putting us under pressure down the flanks.

"It was a stroke of genius, which gave the players more confidence, made the team more solid defensively, and gave us the platform to counter attack"

It's heartening to see that Rodgers is able to spot issues during the game, and make successful tactical changed to turn things around, but it's surprising that his original game-plan seemed to fail. Rodgers undoubtedly studied Southampton's tactical approach, yet his plan to close-down the centre of the pitch backfired as the Saints exploited the space on the wings. Surely Rodgers would've been aware of this possibility prior to the game?

It will certainly be interesting to see Rodgers' tactical performance in the Champions League next season. Elite European competition will be a totally different ball-game for the manager, and if he doesn't eradicate LFC's defensive problems, it could be short-lived ride in the competition.

On a related note: I have such great respect for Roy Evans. In my view, he Evans is one of the best commentators on LFC - he doesn't pander to the club, or the players; always tells it like it is, and will constructively criticise when it's necessary.

Evans also deserves huge praise for his tenure as LFC manager, during which his teams achieved a top-four finish in every year of his reign. Houllier, Benitez, and Dalglish (second spell), never managed that, and if today's rules applied in the '90s, LFC would've been in then Champions League every year under Evans.

And let's not forget, Evans took over from Graeme Souness, who left the languishing in 8th place in the league. Despite this, Evans improved things immeasurably in his first season, and LFC jumped from 8th to 4th, making up 14 points on Souness's paltry total of 60, whilst playing playing expansive, exciting football.

There are definite parallels between the Evans era and Brendan Rodgers' current reign, the most obvious of which is the total commitment to attacking football, and in my view, the current team is the most exciting to watch since Evans' team of 1995-97.

Another similarity between Evans and Rodgers' teams is, admittedly, the dodgy defence (!), but the current team is able to overcome that with its attacking genius.

Long live Roy Evans!

* Combined cost = £43m



  1. Evans teams played brilliant football, he was unlucky to be moved out of the way for Houllier.
    BR is definitely coming into his own in the second half of this season, not only is he making tactical decisions that are changing games he's also got the majority of the team playing at top form. The transformation of Sterling from the start of the season to now is fantastic, credit has to be given to BR for that.

  2. Don't think the diamond suited Coutinho whatsoever.. There was never enough options ahead of him to feed the ball through to.. Victim of the set up. That said, fantastic call from BR to introduce Raheem to the game and he took his chance like a natural centre forward..

  3. Chelsea and City weren't the forces they are now and wenger only joined Arsenal in 96, so it wasn't quite so competitive then. We played lovely football, but Evans was never convincing as a top manager and he was swiftly replaced when he ran out of ideas. It's still early days but the signs are there that we do have a top manager in the making at the moment, and Rodgers adapted well yesterday.

    Off topic, what do you make of Henry's revelation about Suarez' buy out clause existing? Respect for John Henry for standing firm last summer, but should he have kept quiet?

  4. I think he just had a sh1t game. Hopefully he's got it out of the way ahead of the Utd game :-)

  5. I feel he is only boasting, because even the players union looked at the contract on behalf of Suarez. You can also assume Suarez and his agent, had lots of legal people look at it.

  6. Yeah that's true. Bit of an odd comment - maybe it's more about his frustration with how contracts work over here?

  7. get rid of Aspas for £8m, Borini for £10M, Assaidi for £5M, Allen for £10M, Reina for £5M. total £38M.

    Immediately replace Aspas with Loic Remy from QPR for £10m.
    Momo Sissokho from Newcastle is some player and i would sign him for £15M to replace Allen.
    After that we sign our so called top target Roberto Firmino who is a magnificent player for £12M.
    try signing Vertonghen £15M and bring back Ilori.

    every1 will play depending on form

  8. I reckon he's just rubbing salts on Arsenals wound to get back at that extra 1 pounder bid. Knowing perfectly well Arsenal lost the game on the weekend to Stoke due to inability to score goals and we overtook as a result

  9. Spot on. I think he was given a really demanding role, and though he didn't play very well, Sturridge and Suarez didn't exploit the space behind the full-backs well enough to help him influence the game as he was supposed to.

  10. Patrick Ó Fearghasa11:46 pm, March 02, 2014

    Don't think Rodgers can plan for our playmaker having his worst game ever. Coutinho just kept giving the ball away which lead to Southampton bursting on our midfield and defense. Rodgers changing it showed real football intelligence.

  11. Patrick Ó Fearghasa11:51 pm, March 02, 2014

    Me too. I think because he played for the Southampton manager and with Southampton trying to sign him before Liverpool he was thinking about things too much. He seems to have his best games when he doesn't have much time to think at all, like again Arsenal and Everton fast tempo games and one touch football.

  12. I am baffled by this article. So what you saying is BR should be able to read into the future or what?? If this was Jose or SAF then they will be geniuses for able to change their tactics but when it comes to BR he should have known that this is going to happen. AMAZING!!

  13. Rodgers often creates tactics to suit the players he has at his disposal and in this instance he was probably really trying to make sure Coutinho was in the game. I had suggested Coutinho probably should have been the player to make for Allen but no manager wants to drop the guy they normally rely on to be the main attacking source from midfield. I think had he done so the criticism would have been that our formation was too defensive so really he would have been under scrutiny no matter what.

  14. Rodgers expects a lot from his players and I'd guess in this instance he wanted to see if Coutinho could do everything that was asked of him. It's not his natural role but I think Rodgers had some tactics and really wanted to see if Coutinho could work in that kind of setup.

  15. JK whats your opinion on John Henry's recent comments re LS?

  16. will look for any excuse to be negative. but beware he will “snipe" at you but as soon as you call him out he will delete your comments.

  17. Michael Blankson5:34 am, March 03, 2014

    I know you're asking JK, but I just saw those comments by John Henry, and it makes me realise that our owners aren't just business men, but astute and determined to get the best for our club. And this was to stand our ground and not budge on the sale of Suarez, even if the contract proved he could leave.
    Probably the best business that was done in the summer imo.


  18. Michael Blankson5:38 am, March 03, 2014

    Dude, I don't know how many times I have said it (maybe screaming at the tv on a saturday night and hoping BR will take him off), but Coutinho is only effective in the #10 role if the opposing team are not playing a compact midfield, or sitting with almost 10 men behind the ball.
    When I saw that he took him off against Southampton, it was like Christmas came early.
    Love Countinho, but he has a long way to go to command that position.

  19. Peter Drury is the best commentator..hands down.

  20. I completely agree, Hopefully this motivates others to make a stand against players/agents having their own way.
    People have complained for years about Mercenary players and JH just put his foot down and took a stand.
    I think if LS actually wanted to goto Arsenal he would have taken some form of legal action but he didnt so the gamble paid off.
    Brilliant business

  21. Michael Blankson5:52 am, March 03, 2014

    Spot on!
    The only thing that worries me, if its possible, is Arsenal taking this to court 'afterwards'....
    But like John Henry said, "contracts mean nothing in English football".....
    Suarez's value has doubled for sure....

  22. Even Rodgers mentioned that the diamond formation was deployed to stop Southampton from playing through the middle. They had no choice but to go wide.

    Southampton were at home and only had 2 shots on target the whole game so the tactics in both halves of the match were pretty much spot on.

  23. Mr. Point Of View8:49 am, March 03, 2014

    Just be prepare LS saga part 2 will continue this summer !

  24. JW admitting to a release clause...this is hilarious

  25. The clause should never have been in the contract. The fact that it was though means that it was the club not the player who was not honouring the contract. Clearly two wrongs make a right then in the new Luiverpool way of doing business.. Also extremely bad timing to discuss this- lacks class and common sense.

  26. still funny to see arsenal fans to get butt hurt

    weee areee liverpool, tralalalala!
    we do what the f*** we want, tralalalala!

  27. I wonder how hilarious Suarez finds it

  28. Hahaha, like Vertonghen gives a flying f*** about Europa League!

  29. I respectfully disagree.

    I think Roy Evans was very good manager but was held back by the Liverpool Board who turned down the chance to sign some great players.

    I would highly recommend you read his autobiography and you will be stunned to see the players that he tried to buy but the board would not sanction.

    If was able to sign those players then the chances are he would of won the league title.

  30. Not really.

    Personally I hope the reason behind JW admitting this was a shot across the bow for any other players who think they can try and engineer a move.

    I am also hoping that it was a warning to clubs that come the summer the only way they will sign any of our players is if Liverpool Football Club want to sell them and not if the player wants to leave.

    As for the clause, you have to remember that when we signed LS, we were not in a great position and it may have been the only way to him to sign.

  31. Whi in there right mind is going to pay £8m for Aspas - we'l be lucky to get 5m for him. Same for Borini although can see him staying as a squad player for next year with another stricker coming in...

  32. If Ilori can pass like we have seen on youtube a couple of times a game imagine what we could have done against Soto? We wanted to bypass their pressing and the CB's had some time on the ball in periods where a long pass could have been very effective. Caulker seems to have much more about him physically though.

  33. Nothing but hearsay. It will never happen as we already have quality defenders. The way we play with the centre backs far apart leaves us exposed when certain players (read 'Toure') are playing.

    Caulker's no better than anyone we already have, he's on a par with Toure.

  34. A player with NO weaknesses ??, has a genie made Steven Gerrard 25yrs old again, lol (if only)

  35. You think he cares now?

  36. Suarez has his bread buttered on both sides.

    He is LFC's highest paid player now plus CL football is months away. There is even a possibility of winning the League with LFC.

    The way he is performing on the pitch suggests that he is in a very good place.

  37. Yesss, I agree entirely! Loic Remy is a must buy. He can play as a left forward, which is where he naturally plays anyway, and would be ideal cover for Sturridge when he invariably gets injured.

  38. did you guys know that jaimie is a above all and calls people stupid and says they know less than him. just because they disagree with his point of view and provide proof as to why he is wrong. he actually breaks his own rules about sniping but no punishment is ever handed out to him. and when called out about it he deletes those comments so people don't see them and then eventually bans the other person.

  39. That game should crystallise in Coutinho's head why he won't go to the World Cup with Brazil. He has all the talent but not yet consistent.

  40. I'd rather we picked up Theo from Arsenal when they finish fifth and Arsene goes to PSG (with van Persie hopefully) ; )

  41. I don't know if he cares now but i doubt the comments are helpful. His nice new shiney expensive contract might overcome any hurt feelings. On the other hand having put any differences to bed and signed a new contract he might now feel let down. Time will tell.

    Trying to force a move legally was not really an option late on in the transfer window. Legal proceedings would have been protracted and difficult for him and Liverpool. It would also have dirupted his preparations for the world cup.

  42. Haveyou ever tried holding a sandwich where the bread has been buttered both sides?.

    I don't doubt what you say though. He was clearly on top of the world before these unecessary and ill timed comments. Let's hope no damage has been done

  43. Dont agree with Allen. Personally I would add Agger and Glen johnson because they are starting to get injury prone, and Coates as he is garbage, Then send Moses and Cissokho back.

  44. B Rodgers needs to ship out these 8 dead wood average or injury prone players, plus the two abyzmal loan signings and a world class Gk who after his letter has no place at club.
    1: GK B Jones
    2: RB: M Kelly
    3: CB: S Coates
    4: CB: K Toure
    5: AM: L Alberto
    6: RW / RWF: O Assaidi
    7: FD: F Borini
    8: FD: I Aspas
    Two loan signings: 9: LB: A Cissokho 10: LW / LWF: V Moses
    11: GK: P Reina
    The 9 players should bring club in 35-40M
    And then owners need to give B Rodgers another 90-110M over next two transfer windows to bring in these 10 players:
    Five Defensive Players: To Tighten up our defence: cost : £32-£46M
    1: GK: A Mccarthy(24) Of Reading for £4-7M to compete with Mignolet for next 5-7 years at club
    2: RB: N Clyne(23) Of Southampton for £6-£10M to compete with Johnson for next 2 years and take over from him
    3: CB: S Caulker(22) Of Cardiff for £7-10M to compete with Skrtel for next 2 years and then to take over from him and be Sakho's Future centre back partner
    4: LB: B Davies(20) Of Swansea for £4-£8M to compete with Enrique for the next 2-3 years and then take over from him
    5: DM: M'Vila(23) Of Rubin Kazan for £8-11M to compete , cover and to bench Lucas
    Five class creative pacey quick attacking players: cost:
    6: CM: Koke(21) Of A Madrid for £16-£22M to compete with J Allen and J Henderson for next 3-5 years
    7: AM: A Lallana(25) Of Southampton for £12-17M to compete with Coutinho and Suso for next 3-4 years
    8: LW / LWF: Y Konoplyanka(25) Of Dnipro for £14-£16M to compete and cover IBE for next 2-4 years
    9: FD: L Muriel(23) Of Udinese for £12-£15m to compete with Suarez for next 2-4 years
    10: A Hernandez(23) Of Palermo for £4-£7M to compete with Sturridge for the next 3-5 years
    Rodgers needs to ship out 11 players in the summer and bring in those 10 players over next two transfer windows.
    The first seven players should be brought in Summer , the other three players should be brought to club in January Transfer window.

  45. One of my first posts on this site was stating that I believed in BR's attacking philosophy and argued that he was taking LFC further from the team he inherited. No disrespect to King Kenny. I was immediately rudely jumped on by a guy who doesn't come on this site anymore jumping to KD defence. I'm glad BR is proving the doubters wrong and also that we have real LFC supports contributing to this site.

  46. And let's hope De Gea's bread has been buttered both sides