Can Rodgers rejuvenate Liverpool?
Published: 03.06.12 / Written by: David Gold
Brendan Rodgers appears set to become the new Liverpool manager after his club, Swansea, confirmed his departure after an approach.
It represents the latest step in a superb short career so far for the Northern Irishman, whose Swansea team wowed observers across England last season.
But is he good enough for the Liverpool job? Last time Liverpool plucked a manager from lower down the league, they took Roy Hodgson, and he was not afforded the time required to turn things around. This time, it could be different, if the owners of Liverpool are genuine about their desire to give a young manager time to impose a new blueprint on the club.
Rodgers certainly has that ability. Though it is not a small irony that he seems to have beaten the man, Roberto Martinez, who laid the foundations at Swansea for the success Rodgers has enjoyed.
But it is clearly the case that Rodgers has taken Martinez’ blueprint and ran with it. He has turned average, in many cases, below average, players and turned them into one of the most exciting teams to watch and one of the best ball playing teams in England. Players such as Nathan Dyer, relegated to the third tier with Southampton, and Wayne Routledge, have been given a new lease of life under Rodgers. But it should be no shock. He gets his teams to keep the ball, and plays in a style that encourages these individuals to show their skill and ability.
That will encourage Liverpool fans. He is ambitious and his teams are determined, as well as skilful. It will be interesting to see whether he looks to bring in big names, or if he would follow the approach adopted by Kenny Dalglish last year in signing expensive British players.
That will be another issue for Rodgers. What to do with players like Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson? Certainly they all possess the technical skill to play the short passing game Rodgers likes, but do any of them have the imagination and creativity to really pierce top class defences?
This has been an issue for Liverpool for years now. They have persistently punched below their weight, buying players who are frankly beneath their status. They have opted to go for the above average English player, high in spirit, limited in skill, rather than the cheaper, but more dexterous and creative foreigner.
Which way Rodgers goes now will be intriguing and a key to Liverpool’s future. This is a team who have had four managers in the last four years. It is time for stability. But it is also time for Liverpool to rejoin the elite they have only fleetingly competed with in recent times. For a team whose last championship was over 20 years ago, this is a crucial time as they look to keep up with teams who have moved ahead of them, such as Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham, not to mention catching Newcastle. And then there are their arch rivals Manchester United. In terms of financial and commercial potential, they are the only side who can match the 19 times champions. Alex Ferguson cannot go on forever, but likewise Liverpool must find stability and a plan for the future if they are to overtake once again their illustrious rivals.