Ok, finally LFC has a manager, but possibly not the choice many would have either expected or preferred.
The list would have been Rafa Benitez (former Liverpool manager), Roberto Martinez (Wigan), Andre Villas-Boas (ex-Chelsea manager) and Bendan Rodgers (Swansea). Of that group, I would have personally gone for Martinez (as a realistic option), but Rafa was always in the back of a lot of people’s minds.
Of the four, Rafa has by far the most European and domestic experience and his CV was very impressive, but while at Anfield, he divided opinion and left after a poor final season. He would have been the ‘looking back’ option, which people generally are not convinced about.
Although i’m not sure about this at all, Mr Rodgers has got Swansea promoted and kept them in the top league with some style – the first Welsh team to get into the Premier League with an 11th place finish – only 5 points behind Liverpool!
All his previous Chairmen have said the same thing – very professional and technically gifted. He will have the respect of the players and has been coaching since age 20. One downside is his limited 4 years of management experience, but LFC are in no position to get the best or most experienced managers right now – we will have to fight our way back to nearer the top first.
Brendan Rodgers was Reserve team coach at Chelsea under Mourinho who actually said he thought that they were both very similar in many ways, particulalrly in terms of communication and hard work. He’s already worked with Clarke and the pair should be formidable.
His most prized assets (I believe) will be his determination to play fluid and attacking football, with lots of pass and move in there. He also prizes possession, which i’ve lost track of the times i’ve shouted at the tv while watching Liverpool play! If you have the ball, you can score a goal, you won’t concede a corner or free-kick and the opposition cannot hurt you. It’s the foundation of everything with Barcelona displaying the best use of this type of playing.
And when the Ulsterman does so, the owners will finally have got what they want: a young, dynamic, articulate, organised manager who has the intellectual capacity to take charge of a complex modern business.
What’s more, he is unlikely to put the parent company into embarrassing situations with his handling of any crisis that comes his way. Rodgers does not do confrontational, prickly or grumpy. He is an emollient media figure — friendly, helpful, dignified.
As a PR presence he is more or less the antithesis, in fact, of the previous incumbent, whose attitude to those who delivered the company’s communications message at times bordered on the comically obstructive. The age of the dinosaur is about to come to an end at Anfield.
Plus, and this is what will matter to the faithful in the Kop, when it comes to football, Rodgers’s instincts are entirely in the right place. Swansea survived not through the long ball, through chucking it in the mixer, through the insistent application of elbow and stud, but through pass and move.
Their ability to keep possession was exemplary. The ball was shifted about their midfield with pace and purpose. The noise emanating from the stands at the Liberty Stadium last season was often very close to purring. Of course, when your midfield consists of Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stuart Downing, it will not be easy to coax out such qualities. But Rodgers excels on the training field: he will create a training culture in which possession is king.
I’ll certainly be giving him the benefit of the doubt but he’ll have a big challenge on his hands – welcome to the big time Brendan and good luck to you! YNWA.