LEAGUE POSITION 2013/14: 2nd
Brendan Rodgers set his sights on a top-four finish before a ball was kicked in pre-season, but the Reds boss soon eclipsed those expectations after a campaign to remember in Merseyside.
Inspired by the goals of Luis Suarez (31) and Daniel Sturridge (21) – accounting for over half of Liverpool’s tally – the Reds came within a whisker of ending their wait for Premier League glory.
11 wins on the spin guided Liverpool to the brink, opening up a five-point lead at the summit only to see their quest for a first league crown in 28 years dashed in a last, dramatic twist to the title race.
The Reds’ remarkable run was ended by a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea which, compounded by a late collapse at Crystal Palace, paved the way for Manchester City to clinch top spot on the final day.
It was ultimately a case of so close but yet so far, yet the disappointment cannot detract from the progress Rodgers and co. have made – improving five places on his first season in charge – including the return of Champions League football under the lights at Anfield in 2014/15.
MANAGER: Brendan RODGERS
Fast enchancing his reputation as one of Britain’s most exciting young managers, Brendan Rodgers’ coaching career began at Reading, where his success with the Academy persuaded Jose Mourinho to take the Northern Irishman to Chelsea as part of his backroom staff in 2006.
It wasn’t long before he made the step into senior management, with Championship club Watford. A brief tenure at former club Reading followed, but his big break came at Swansea City, who became the first Welsh side to gain promotion to the Premier League in Rodgers’ debut season in charge.
Rodgers followed play-off final glory at Wembley with an impressive first season in the top flight, finishing 11th while the Swans’ style of play brought comparisons to then European champions Barcelona.
Liverpool came calling in the summer of 2012, where Rodgers built on a steady first season at Anfield by guiding the Reds to the club’s highest finish in five years. While silverware escaped his clutches, Rodgers was rewarded with the League Managers’ Association Manager of the Year award and a new long-term deal at the helm.
STAR MAN: Luis SUAREZ (Striker)
Luis Suarez divides opinion amongst most football fans but few can argue his stature as one of the deadliest strikers in English football following a season which saw the striker named PFA and FWA Player of the Year.
The 27 year-old has been a revelation since arriving at Anfield in January 2011, finding the net over 30 times in each of the past two seasons. In doing so, Suarez became the first player to hit the milestone in a domestic campaign since Ian Rush despite missing the first ten games of the 2013/14 campaign through suspension for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.
England’s nemesis at this summer’s World Cup – scoring both goals in Uruguyay’s win over the Three Lions – bagged a brace when Liverpool were last at Loftus Road but his latest controversial, long-term ban means the striker will be missing when the Reds return to W12 in October.
Liverpool 1, QPR 0 – Premier League – Sunday 19th May 2013
DID YOU KNOW?
Liverpool’s free-scoring attack netted three or more goals in 21 games last season, whilst registering four or more in 11. Both set new Premier League records.
Home: QPR v Liverpool – Saturday 18th October – 3.00pm
Away: Liverpool v QPR – Saturday 2nd May – 3.00pm
All fixtures subject to change