Hindsight is 20/20, this we know. And it was reinforced on Thursday with comments from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
The Reds are four points back of fifth-place Arsenal and five back of No. 4 Manchester United, but that wasn’t the aim in building off of last season’s surprise run toward the title.
[ MORE: What’s next for Real Madrid’s Odegaard? ]
Standing 17 points back of the Premier League’s top spot, Rodgers is saying it was never in the cards to compete for this season’s title. Selling Luis Suarez and bringing in a bunch of new players for Europe competition apparently meant shooting for the top was too much.
“The reality was, with so many changes, we were not going to win the league this season. I believe we will be ready to challenge for the title next year,” said Rodgers.
“This year was about targeting the top four and the cups. I think this squad has Premier League-winning capabilities. We have young players who can grow together. A win in the cup would provide greater stimulus. You need ready-made quality as well, but this was the year for players to adapt and settle. Come the summer, the period of integration will be complete and then we can compete like we did last year for the title.”
Okay. So, that’s a bit far from “There’s no great difference from last season,” isn’t it? Perhaps this is what Rodgers is selling in his team room and training ground, and now bringing to the fans, but it’s a bit naive to think anyone’s buying the “Oh, we were never a contender” logic.