SO, the speculation is over – no more overexcited screaming to put up with on Sky Sports News, no more following the betting market to see who’s the latest hot favourite and thankfully, happily and oh so thankfully, no more Dave Whelan. The new manager is in place, and it’s our job as Reds to get behind that man – Brendan Rodgers.
As he takes his new job though, what will his top priorities be? What does he have to get started with on day one?
1. Show he can deal with big players
This may be his biggest challenge – it’s one thing to dominate a dressing room full of young, unproven players at Swansea who owe their careers to you, but it’s another thing to walk into a dressing room with Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher, Luis Suarez and the rest, and be able to get top results from them every week. These guys are established internationals, and some of them are Liverpool FC institutions.
On top of that, can he get the most out of expensive players such as Downing, Henderson and Carroll, who have had mixed results so far but all have huge price tags to deal with? Rodgers has a reputation as an excellent man manager, but getting the best out of big players will be key to any success.
2. Show he can attract big players
One of the key points of Kenny’s downfall was the lack of performance from his big name signings, so it doesn’t necessarily follow that we have to go and sign a load of ‘A’ listed £20m players to succeed. Having said that though, Rodgers has to show that he has the ability to attract those players – he’s got to be able to convince at least some big names that his Liverpool vision is a better bet than Spurs, Chelsea and the other teams battling for the top four.
3. Figure out a plan to deal with the home form
Another killer for Kenny was last season’s form at Anfield, especially against weaker sides. Six home wins out of nineteen was a major issue, and Rodgers needs to come up with a plan to fix it – whether that’s another goalscorer, a different style of play or just a greater killer instinct against lower teams, more home wins would be a sure fire way to get the fans on board early in his reign.
4. Restore our reputation
A difficult one this, but whatever the rights and wrongs of the Suarez situation, and whatever you thought of Kenny’s approach to post-match interviews, every Red knows deep down that the club’s reputation suffered badly last season, and it matters. It’s true that some of the coverage was ridiculously out of hand, but Rodgers should definitely be focused on restoring LFC’s public image. It’s still important to get back to the days when people were jealous of our professional reputation and our proud sporting tradition as a football club, instead of some of the mishandled PR disasters of last season. There’s a chance for Rodgers to get on the front foot and restore our reputation – he has to take it.
All the fans who are still questioning why the club has gone for a relatively unproven manager need to understand that Rodgers is a driven guy who has got this job on merit, and with his own style and approach. He needs to stick to his principles and remember what’s brought him this far, however many challenges he faces on the way.
If Rodgers can start and tackle these priorities then he’ll have some quick wins under his belt and could start and build some momentum. All the doubters need to remember – the Evening Standard in 1996 thought it was very clever to run a headline ‘Arsene Who?’, and if we go back even further then I reckon a few Liverpool fans were unsure when a hungry manager from Huddersfield Town turned up in 1959 wanting to build a legacy. And that didn’t turn out too badly….
Find me on twitter @rossco1981
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