AND so it would appear (time of writing 2.15pm, Wed 30th May 2012) that Brendan ‘B-Rod’ Rodgers will be the new manager of Liverpool Football Club. Jorge Valdano will be pleased.
“I remember a wonderful banner in the Liverpool stands from the days when TV was in black and white – it read: ‘For those of you watching on telly, Liverpool are the ones with the ball’. I used to support Liverpool just for that.
– Jorge Valdano
Brendan Rodgers likes the ball. And he likes control.
This is a good appointment, and having experienced something akin to mourning but a couple of weeks ago upon hearing the news of Kenny’s sacking, I’m happy to admit that, having thought things through, the club have gone with the bloke I wanted. Whether it’s through considered analysis and design is another matter… but even if they’ve stumbled on this solution, I think it’s the right one.
I use the word ‘solution’, because only a few weeks back I gave my views on what Liverpool’s problem was. I had hoped the club would back him to fix it himself, of course, but it wasn’t to be (and it may well be we lost something significant in the process – time will tell). The problem, to paraphrase it as I saw it, was that we lacked control. Its symptoms were as follows.
- tactical incoherence.
- poor decision making with the ball.
- players somehow forgetting how to finish.
The way to fix it? Well, it’s self-indulgent, but it illustrates my point, so here goes – a wee quote from myself in my last post on the subject.
Establish that tactical coherence, and the whole side gets a little calmer. When the whole side’s a little calmer, the decision making tends to get a little better. When you’re more controlled and dominant, and you’re less worried what will happen if you lose the ball in transition, you tend to make better choices. And when you’re making better choices, and those choices are happening within a coherent and balanced tactical framework, your game gets that little bit more ruthless. And we just need to be that crucial little bit more ruthless.
As I saw it, there were two routes to that tactical coherence. Either you bought or blooded another player like Lucas, or you changed the system to introduce what losing him deprived you of.
Well, Rodgers is the man when it comes to control. And he’s fresh from demonstrating his ability to exert it even with a squad full of supposedly ‘limited’ players. Without the ball, his Swansea side has shown energy and aggression, tactical and positional savvy (both individually and collectively), and admirable balance. They’re well drilled off the ball, and not in a passive way – the approach we came to loathe under Hodgson.
Meanwhile, Rodgers loves the ball. He’s greedy for it, and he wants his sides to monopolise its possession. That’s Liverpool football – the kind Valdano fell for all those years ago.
People criticise his football, saying his side lacked penetration in the final third; but the capacity to hurt sides increases with quality and integration – the squad – all squads at all levels – need to learn how to play what is the most ambitious mode of football a coach can try to implement, particularly when resources are limited. Play this brand of controlling football with a defensive unit that’s already arguably the best in its division, and with attacking resouces that, let’s face it, dwarf those Swansea had at their disposal… well, we’ll see, won’t we?
I’m quietly excited by the appointment. I just hope the structure being put in place enables the kind of approach to the game I personally yearn for at the club, as discussed in the following articles (again, self-indulgent, but it’s a drum I’ve been banging for a very long time).
The Only True Moneyball Strategy Available
We’re Not Spanish We Are Scouse
Good luck Brendan.
Great piece Roy, this bit “Establish that tactical coherence, and the whole side…” could have been written about Rodgers style of play. Thanks to you (and others) I’ve been reading a lot more about him and his style and also Martinez.
Like you, I’m seeing this in a more positive way every day. It feels like the old structure was just a little too out of date. I think its a line from the film “The Untouchables”, something about taking a knife to a gun fight. I think we kept turning up with a knife, while the likes of Chelski and Citeh came equipped to carpet bomb.
Time as ever, will tell, the signs are good though.
Although I’d be pleased with this appointment, if it happened, I’m still not sure what to believe. Two days ago we were all sure it would be Martinez, now we’re all sure it’s going to be Rodgers, two days from now, we’ll all be sure it’s someone new!
Agreed. The more I read about Rodgers the more impressed I was. And not just in tactical footballing terms. He seems to appreciate that football clubs form an important part of a “local culture” (for lack of a better term) and encourages players to become a part of that. Hodgson missed this altogether, Kenny understood it too well, perhaps so well, that it was assumed knowledge and not something to be taught. It will be interesting (hopefully in a good way) to see how Rodgers fares with “the Liverpool way.”
All the best to him.
No idea whether he was the best candidate or whether he will be a success, but he deserves a fair crack of the whip. Short of any Hodgson-esque media faux pas, I think most fans will support him.
Whether we succeed or fail, I expect us to do it with a certain amount of passion, guile and maybe even style.
Is “cautiously optimistic” a completely over-used phrase at this point? He wants to play football the right way, and you would think that will buy him a lot of good will. I fully expect Liverpool fans to get behind him whatever the case. A lot of people are understandably unhappy with how the Kenny situation panned out, but that has little or nothing to do with Rodgers and I think he’ll get a lot of support from the stands. Let’s start getting hold of that football and doing something useful with it.
He will have my full support and i believe the support of all reds, once the decision is confirmed. FSG can help by giving fans an insight into this new direction (stadium update wouldn’t harm matters either), then back him with some funds to strengthen the squad.
Good to read your scouse not spanish piece again mate, good stuff.
Excellent piece here on Brendan’s tiki-taka style.. http://thepathismadebywalking.wordpress.com/tag/brendan-rodgers/
He ain’t Rafa and for that reason I’m out!
Support the club not the man. I’m a huge Rafa fan and wanted him back more than anyone but to say your “out” because you don’t get your way is childish. Maybe the club will manage to whittle down the number of fans to those who actually care about the future of the club rather than clinging on to those who act like petulant children when they don’t get their own way. Bye, Bye.
You are out cos it’s not Benitez? My God. Poor Rodgers (if appointed) is on a hiding to nothing with some supporters.
Quietly excited!! Yes!!! Me, too!!!
Saying “I’m out” because Rafa wasn’t brought back doesn’t make one childish. I’m sure the poster was being flippant rather than actually stating that he is turning his back on Liverpool.
Also, “whittle down the number of fans who care about the club” is disengenious, who’s to say one fan cares more than another?
Turn your logic around and ask yourself this; if you’re willing to go along with any man jack who gets a payslip saying he’s manager of LFC, as opposed to another fan who cares so much he’s gutted because a decision has been made regarding choice of manager that he believes will ultimately retard LFC – rather than progress it – who does that make the better fan? The principalled fan with a plan or the pliable, compliant fan who’s willing to go along with ‘whoever’ in the name of supporting the club?
I’m not picking sides, I’m just sick of the constant in-fighting. I’ll support Rodgers but I have no idea at all whether this will end in shocking tears of success. Rafa was my choice because I knew it would always end in success. Therefore – by definition – this is a huge gamble.
If the poster wasn’t being serious with his comment then your point is completely valid. I am no better a supporter than the next man, nor did I say I was. If he is being serious then my argument is valid. You don’t just walk away from the club because a decision was made that you disagree with. If he was being facetious then I apologise for not being able to identify his intent. You can’t always tell if someone is being serious or funny when you rely on the written word online. So in the end, we may both be right or wrong.
You can’t say that you ‘knew it would always end in success’ under Rafa, Filthbag. Don’t think anyone can be certain of that, but I understand your point.
I also agree about the infighting between fans. It must stop, as it is embarrassing at times.
Btw, are you the Filthbag who posted on a certain Red Top newspaper??
@Ged can you close the door on your way out? If Rodgers can start to implement some of the attacking play seen by Swansea last season, we’re gonna be highly entertained. Let’s get some signings sorted and get pre season underway!!
Still waiting for the big scooby doo moment where Rafa is revealed as the DOF who was advising on the new manager all along
Haha just reading the headline made me smile. Come on Brendy! *slaps self* Brendan!
I wish people like Ged would just dump the rose-tinted spectacles and set their watches to “today”. FSG have made their intentions much clearer now, and I for one will subscribe wholeheartedly: it’s all in the name of the long run, and we should be delighted with that. Re. Rodger’s appointment, big names in management don’t know how to operate without the big bucks any more, nor are they attracted to struggling clubs. So the owners have gone for high potential to counter big bucks. It makes utter sense when you are looking into building for the long term, rather than aiming for instant success. If Barcelona’s development is FSG’s benchmark, then they are absolutely right in choosing someone with the potential of Guardiola rather than the man himself, and are investing in youth rather than in has-beens. This includes the Academy, which Pep himself describes as the best in the world. As such, it would be the stupidest, most backward-looking move to select Rafa. If we want to own the future, we cannot invest in nostalgia.
Like echoed by many, quietly, no saying it proudly and loudly…..Excited about having the big man in charge. If he can get us purring like the lovely football that Swansea played, I’ll be a happy red.
Swansea played us off the pitch at times last year…..They out fought us and more worringly out thought us….
Exciting times ahead, and we should unite under the new manager. Not ooh and ahh with fantasy football. We’ve got Brendan, support him and lets get on with a new exciting season.
Good luck Brendan, hope to hear your name sung loudly next may as we look forward to the champions league…..and if the tough ask happens, getting Stevie to lift that illusive premier league trophy.
Excellant piece, what people forget that the only team to get clapped off at Anfield last season besides Liverpool was Swansea. They were superb on the day. I believe that this man could bring back the passing game that Liverpool fans have enjoyed over the years and turn Suarez into the best player in the world. I hope that we as fans give him time and understanding to bring this fabelous club back to where it belongs.
As an Irishman I am proud to support this club through thick and thin and will untiln the day I die.
Keep up the good work on the Wrap.