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Liverpool hope Brendan Rodgers can replicate his stylish brand of football at Anfield
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Rodgers right man for Reds

By prolifik on June 8th, 2012 in Blow the whistle 3 comments
Rodgers right man for Reds
Strong track record - Rodgers
After careful consideration, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have chosen former Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers as the man to take the prestigious Merseyside club back to where they belong. It’s a massive job and with it comes great pressure and great expectation, not just from the fans but also from the owner John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner. As we can tell from the ruthless dismissal of Kop hero Kenny Dalglish, there is a clear remit for the job and if the targets are not met, the owners will take decisive action. This is precisely why it was important to select the right man to take the club forward. There were thought to be a number of candidates in the running, including Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, but in the end Rodgers was installed as the number one choice. And it has to be said, Rodgers recent track record has been impressive and would have been difficult to overlook.

He was appointed as manager of Swansea in the summer of 2010 and managed to guide the Welsh club to an unexpected spot in the Championship play-offs in his first season. This was a great achievement in itself. The Swans then overcame Nottingham Forest and Rodgers' former club Reading to become the first Welsh club to gain promotion to the Premier League. This success was nothing short of miraculous and was well beyond what anyone would have forecast when he first took over. But being such a small club – a minnow now swimming in a pond with the big fishes of the Premier League - Swansea were widely tipped for relegation.

Instead, the Swans impressed under Rodgers' guidance and were not only comfortably above the drop zone for most of the season but were also playing attractive football. Far from grinding out results, as is often the method adopted by newly promoted sides, Rodgers had somehow managed to get them playing an incisive passing game that earned them the tag of the Welsh Barcelona. In the end Swansea finished the season in 11th place, a remarkable achievement, recording wins over Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool along the way and also picking up points against Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle.

There were also some stats that really underlined the incredible performance that Rodgers had managed to coax out of his team. They had the sixth highest passing accuracy ratio of any team in Europe, behind only Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Man City, Real Madrid and Chelsea. At one stage in the season, Swansea midfielder Leon Britton had the highest passing accuracy ratio of any player in Europe, ahead of the decorated and world class Xavi of Barcelona. Another Swansea star, Joe Allen, also ranked very highly and was in sixth place on the list.

These incredible stats underline just how well that Swansea team performed under Rodgers and speaks volumes for his ability as a manager both in terms of style of play and getting the best out of his players. These factors seem to indicate that there is something special about Rodgers. Something that perhaps sets him apart from the rest and this is exactly what Liverpool need. If Rodgers can be successful in terms of results but can also do this by way of playing an attractive, passing game that the Liverpool fans will enjoy watching, then he will be a huge hit on Merseyside, no doubt about it.

There was some suggestion that Rodgers turned down the job when he was first mentioned in connection with it but what actually emerged was that he had not wanted to declare he would be prepared to leave Swansea and then end up not getting the job and having to crawl back with his tail between his legs, a bit like what Martinez has to do now at Wigan. But once the Liverpool owners made it clear to Rodgers that he was the man they wanted for the job, the deal was struck and an agreement for compensation was reached with the Welsh club.

The way they went about their search for a new manager and the end result of the application process speaks volumes for the Fenway Sports Group that owns Liverpool. It indicates that they do in fact know exactly what they are doing and were not prepared to take the decision over who should be the new manager lightly. Too often in football these days we see chairmen make snap decisions when appointing a new manager without appearing to really think it through. For instance, they seem inclined to take whoever is available at the time. And even if that manager was fired from his last job as a result of performing poorly, he is still given the next role that becomes vacant and is usually inclined to fail again.

Some of the names mentioned in connection with the Liverpool job were of this ilk. Andre Villas-Boas was in the frame at one point, despite his recent failure to get his Chelsea team performing well culminating in his dismissal. Of course, that same Chelsea team then went on to win the FA Cup and the Champions League. How he could have been in contention for the Liverpool job is beyond belief. Then there was Rafa Benitez. Once again, a lot of Liverpool fans were revealing a rejuvenated faith in an old flame, just as they did with Kenny Dalglish. But Liverpool’s eighth place finish in the Premier League showed that sentiment is not always the best route to success. Sure, Benitez won the Champions League for Liverpool, but that is all some of their fans seem to remember. They do not recall the decline that happened later on as Rafa’s reign fell apart. Or the fact Benitez then took charge of Inter Milan but was again fired six months later after failing to get them into contention for a title challenge.

Luckily, Henry and Werner avoided these potential turkeys. They also took the time to assess and interview the leading candidates. It was made public by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan that the Liverpool chiefs had flown Martinez to Miami for an interview. But again, they probably made the right choice. Martinez did well to turn round the fortunes of his Wigan side last season after they looked, at one stage, to be heading for relegation. He has done reasonably well in his managerial career thus far, having guided his former club Swansea to the League One title in 2008. But would he have been the right man to get Liverpool to where the owners want them to be? I have my doubts.

It would probably be fair to say that the appointment of Rodgers as manager does still represent a bit of a gamble. He’s still a young up and coming manager at the end of the day and is a far cry from the experience of some of the other names linked the job such as Benitez and Fabio Capello. Despite being a Youth Team and Reserve Team manager at Chelsea previously, Rodgers has never really been in charge of a big club, so it is a big step up for him. But it’s a gamble that is based on his philosophy of football and how he gets his teams to play and how he gets them to win, rather than his experience of competing for top honours. If he can get the Liverpool team playing a similar to the style of football that he has managed to attain at Swansea though, he certainly has a great chance to succeed and get the club moving in the right direction again.

Contributed by richbrawn1
By prolifik on June 8th, 2012 in Blow the whistle

Rodgers right man for Reds
3 responses
17 Aug, 2012
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18 Aug, 2012
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18 Aug, 2012
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