Fergus Houlihan

Brendan Rodgers: A new era dawns

“By the time the gospel according to Brendan Rodgers had drawn to a close he was preaching to the converted.” Ben Smith, BBC Sport.

No one could deny Brendan Rodgers cut an impressive figure in his opening press conference at Melwood yesterday. The former Swansea manager showed calmness, as well as being an assured figure. Those who love the game have been excited by this manager’s unique take on the game for some time. How many managers in England encourage their players to keep the ball at all costs when holding a slender lead in the last few minutes of a game? Although Rodgers has a long way to go to silence the doubters that he possesses the experience and knowledge necessary to turn Liverpool into the force they once were, he spoke about aspects of our club he would look to improve, that to those who have cast their eye over the club in recent years, could only have been impressed with his insightful analysis of the problems that have beset our once proud club.

Rodgers spoke intelligently about the weight of wearing the red jersey for some players and how they subsequently find the burden of history and the spotlight within the media to much to deal with. But it seems this is a man with a planned philosophy to implement, which belies his 39 years. Also, Rodgers promised to restore Liverpool to its traditional passing style which recent managers were either reluctant or lacked the morale courage to implement. While Kenny Dalglish could not be accused of being a “Long ball Merchant”, he certainly seemed to lack an overall playing strategy.

Perhaps most impressive of all from Rodgers was his clear message to the Liverpool owners that he would only take the job on his terms. Firstly, he distanced himself from the beauty pageant style interview process when Liverpool first approached Swansea to speak to him. When it became clear he was the number one choice he rebuffed the attempts of F.S.G to appoint him under a Director of Football (believed to be Louis Van Gaal).Rodgers also showed he meant business at Anfield when he cut across Ian Ayre to cast away any ambiguity in relation to who will make the final decisions on transfers. Rodgers will now have final say on all transfer targets which means he is responsible for realising his own vision of how his team will line up. It is in this area which will make or break Brendan Rodgers as with all managers, the ability to get the right players into the club. Remember Rafael Benitez had a vision for Liverpool but knowing how to get there is what separates good managers from great managers.

There can be no doubting the man from County Antrim is relishing the opportunity of Leading our proud club possibly in no small part to the fact his late Father, Malachy, was a supporter. While there may have being many supporters calling for the return of Benitez, FSG have being bold in their approach and some will say taken a huge gamble. However, a manager who wants to play total football and whose ambition matches that of our great managers of the past is clearly in sync with what we are looking for in a manager. There seems to be a real confidence about Brendan Rodgers similar to that of Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. It is in my experience that that confidence in whatever profession you work in, usually rubs off on all those around them.

When Rodgers settles in at Liverpool he will quickly recognise some of the talented players that Liverpool currently have. It is also my suspicion that we will see a lot more from the players signed last summer when they have a clear and concise role on the pitch to fulfil. Another huge bonus for Brendan Rodgers coming into Liverpool will be the youth set-up for which Benitez can take much of the credit. There is a talented crop of youngsters waiting to make their mark at the club, most notably, Raheem Sterling, Jack Robinson and Jordan Lussey. While some of these youngsters maybe a little away from making the first team at the moment, the Swansea manager has thought younger players throughout his coaching life not just about football but also the importance of respect and values, something that is already instilled at the Liverpool academy.

There can be no doubting that appointing Brendan Rodgers is one of the boldest decisions Liverpool have made in recent times but every time he has spoken in the last two days makes you believe that this could prove a master-stroke of a decision. His own recognition of his failings when he became manager of Reading that he had simply focused too much on changing the philosophy of the club instead of gradual change while winning matches, shows a man who learns quickly from his mistakes and then moves on. This is also another trait that great mangers possess-always look ahead not behind.

As always there is no need to repeat that Liverpool supporters should get behind the new man, that is a given. And while there will be inevitable low points along the way in Brendan Rodgers quest to bring Liverpool back to the summit of English football, one can only feel Liverpool have appointed a manager for the first time in a long time who could in the future rank along the great managers of the past.

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Fergus Houlihan

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  • YoungManager

    Very well said

  • http://twitter.com/nhtdaniel Daniel

    one can only hope he’s given time to realise his vision, unlike rafa or daglish

    • CW

      He will, this is FSGs first appointment as manager. They didn’t want KD in a permanent role. If he has success the first couple seasons it stands to reason he could be a stable fixture for years and years to come.

  • Scott Brown

    I really like what i have seen and heard of BR so far and am hoping that he not only can get the signings from last summer playing the way they should, in roles they shine in, but also that he is able to bring some fresh talent in that can enhance the squad in the right ways. He also needs to cut some dead weight and I believe that one thing we have gotten in this manager is a man with a shrewd eye for what is and what is not needed in a particular squad.

    Here’s looking forward to what the summer will bring!

  • http://twitter.com/iweedy SuaRed

    Like the Raheem Sterling fair enough but Jack Robinson and Jordan Lussey especially the latter are some way away? Personally I’d send Robinson out on loan. My real point here is why you didn’t include a player who is in my opinion one of only 2 reserve playerrb who will make the first team next year! Jesús Fernández Sáez AKA Suso. This kid is perfect for Rodgers style and will be 19 later this year. In the latter part of the 2011-12 season for the reserves he was quite frankly along with sterling a class above! Lussey is an under 18 and has some way to go.

  • TG

    Suso, Sterling, Morgan, Silva, Robinson, Coates, Teixeira etc can’t be too far away now. We must exploit the quality we have there already, they have a love for Liverpool. We hear he has £30m + sales to spend which is enough to make his changes, a right-winger and goalpoacher will do for me.
    We have a very good squad of players that need tactical discipline, Rodgers is an expert at that. We were already attacking last season without really controlling games, that will be put right by Rodgers!!
    Good times ahead, I believe in this fella, working with a quality squad!!!

  • scousemanc

    We have just secured a Leader, a fantastic Manager, BR is the best Manager that Liverpool could have got, and i include the all the other names that have been banded around. Kenny didnt work out, we all wanted it too, he was lacking in tactics, lost his nerve about playing young players, played people out of position, and everytime he was infront of the cameras he didnt do himself or our club any favours! (please refer to this as one of the main reasons why Fenway took action) It took Fergie over 5 years to do anything at UTD, we have to be patient with our new Boss, however i have never felt as positive about our club since May 2005.

    • Chukwudi Dozie

      Completely agree mate. Hope is a wonderful and dangerous thing at the same time! What Brendan Rodgers will bring is an identity to our football and approach.We are a massive club and recent announcements on the manager plus the stadium will mean that we’re heading in the right direction. We need to be patient because Rodgers’ philosophy is truly worthwhile but worthwhile ventures take time. Pass and move is the Liverpool groove…

  • Spiv

    However confident BR may be in his ability, he’ll certainly need that bit of Irish luck to steer him through the formative stages of his managerial career at LFC. The current team is in dire need of restructuring meaning replacements need to be made and as we know, the hunt for new blood followed by the process integrating them into a new club/squad/surrounding takes time. Moreover, the process will inevitably have an impact on the dynamics across the existing squad, be it for better or worse. So the immediate road ahead is certainly going to be a challenge.

    At 39 and with only one season under his belt at the helm in top flight football, there are plenty who are just waiting for BR to slip up. Add to that the fact that the role he’s taken up is considered to be one of the top jobs in world football, the pressure mounts and pressure to succeed becomes that much greater. Therefore BR needs to get off to a good start – stringing a bunch of consecutive wins/positive results together – because only then will the crowd and media start their love affair with this new regime.

    If on the other hand the team starts the 2012/13 campaign poorly, then it’ll become increasingly harder for BR to silence his doubters/critics and ultimately keep command of the dressing room.

    FSG have been brave in their appointment. I do agree with the sentiments in this article suggesting BR appears to have all the hallmarks to become a successful manager. However, IMHO he’ll need to prove this as quickly as possible. As much as the Anfield faithful will get behind him initially – they may even afford him some time to bed-in – he’ll need to quickly demonstrate the widely anticipated changes he’s expected to bring to the club including his approach to the playing style.

    Firstly and foremost let’s hope BR’s a ‘lucky’ manager. That way he stands the chance of one day becoming a ‘great’ one!

  • tommygun

    Welcome to the club Brendan.

    I was impressed with his first interview, he’s obviously kissed the blarney stone at some point because he can certainly talk the talk…….let’s cross our fingers and hope he can also walk the walk.

    I found myself nodding in agreement with some of his ideas on football, playing possession football, keeping the ball on the ground, hard work is an obligation not an option, playing a high pressing game etc. Also when he highlighted the midfield as the area most in need of improvement. We are really short on pace and creativity in midfield.

    Hope he pay’s the cup competitions respect, despite the owners seemingly dismissive attitude towards them. Silverware is what it’s all about, in football or any sport….success is defined by winning.

    This is a massive step for Brendan & for Liverpool…..I wish him well, if it works out for him then it’s also working out for Liverpool and that’s what we all want.

  • Nick

    the more I hear about this clown the more worried I become for LFC’s future

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ronan-McKegney/100001299091160 Ronan McKegney

      I take it your just being a bit of a dick then?

    • Red at heart

      Well said it looks like another poor season ahead we need rafa back

      • Luc-le-grand

        you’re definitely in that third group of supporters. negativity…

  • mick the kidder

    I beleive in Brenden Rodgers. LFC have appointed a much needed new breed of manager in my own opinion, somebody who is up to speed with todays footballing idealisms. Brenden sounds to me like a realist he as a great understanding of todays game, he knows that where not far from challenging for a top four place within the premeier league, Kenny helped build the basis of a decent squad with a couple more key players coming in ( 4 at most ) and a few going the other way, were really not a million miles away, from turning a mediocre season into a more successfull one within the league. Brenden will consintrate on a few aspects of last seasons poor performances at home and will no doubt strive to put that right, poor finnishing played a big part in what was a large part of the frustrations of our current squad, if you were to count how many times we hit the woodwork last season and replace them with goals we would have won more games than Arsenal or Spurs i beleive. With a more attacking style of play and with hopefully the “six seconds rule” in place im excited about Brenden Rodgers`s appointment it will no doubt take a bit of time for our squad to adapt to this new way of playing, but if and when they do i can see the glory days flooding back to the greatest football club in the world. Red4Life.

    • Billy

      Just want to wish Brendan the very best. As fans we will have to be a patient while he establishes himself. He needs to buy well.

  • http://twitter.com/bladebla1 Brehon Law

    We should do well from the parachute payments & we will at least have a chance of ending our Title drought when we are looking for promotion , that said though I wouldn’t turn my nose up at winning the play offs .