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The Profile of a Brendan Rodgers Player

Date: 23rd January 2013 at 4:00 pm
Written by: | Comments (12)

Brendan Rodgers Liverpool FC managerAT the end of last season prior to ’s defeat at , MOTD3 aired a show to celebrate 20 years of the Premier League.

One of the most prolific scorers in the league appeared in the shape of Alan Shearer, the former pro turned pundit, Robbie Savage and an up and coming Swansea City manager in the shape of .

All three were asked to give their all time Premier League XI.

Interestingly both Shearer and Savage picked similar teams in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, whilst Brendan who admitted to spending a fair bit of time thinking about this took a different approach. He picked:

That’s a team of: P. Schmeichel; G. Neville, T. Adams, J. Terry, A. Cole; R. Keane, P. Scholes; G. Zola, C. Ronaldo, T. Henry; A. Shearer.

Whilst I’m sure most reading this might feel a sense of apoplectic rage given the amount of players in the squad, there can be no denying this side probably would have dominated British football. Make no mistake; this side would have been a formidable one.

Note that this system is not a 4-3-3, it’s a variation on it 4-2-3-1. Rodgers also omitted from the starting XI, noticeable absentees including Gerrard, Alonso, Giggs, Hyypia, Vieira, Lampard, Mascherano…the list goes on and on.

Explaining his reasoning for omitting such players Rodgers went on that whilst indeed great players, he was thinking about the system and they way they all work together. Ronaldo and Henry need no explanation, Shearer the out-and-out goal-machine, Zola for his incredible ability to attack as natural playmaker in the no.10 role, Scholes for his ability to control the midfield, dictate play whilst serious aggression and bite comes in the shape of Roy Keane and a very dominant back four. Peter Shcmeichel also gets the no.1 jersey. I remember Peter just as much for his passion and leadership as well as his ability in goal.

The team he picked has an edge to it in the sense of all of those players would not tolerate errors and people not doing their fair share of work on the pitch. The collective, aggression and the shared responsibility the ever present factors in this Rodgers side. There’s also a fair amount of football intelligence in this side; Neville, Scholes and Zola all known for their insight and vision to manage games.

Whilst it’s interesting looking at the players here and debating for hours as to what your all time XI is, this is not the point of the article. I’d rather point out something which comes across clearly. All of these players are aggressive, not all of them are leaders, yet there’s no lack of leadership here.

There’s an abundance of skill here too with the front four amassing over 580 goals for their Premier League clubs, with other scoring options in the name of Scholes, Adams and Terry. It’s fair to say both Cole and Neville were never that prolific – instead solid full backs who added pace as well as skill.


Rodgers recently told the press that his current Liverpool squad is a quiet team. Then all of a sudden the shock of including Carragher on Saturday’s match over Skrtel explained later due to Carragher’s leadership on the pitch. Skrtel isn’t having the best of seasons, found often out of position, conceding 23 fouls just outside the box (which is worrying considering Liverpool’s inability to defend these set pieces just now).

He’s had a few key errors too, the noticeable one’s costing the team a win over City at the start of the start of the season, and then not being in his position by the post allowing Evra of all people to head towards goal deflecting off of Vidic which gave United the advantage in a game where Skrtel should have been sent-off.

Since losing Mascherano and Hyypia we’ve lost that bite and intelligence we used to have in the defensive areas. Whilst both Agger and Skrtel look strong and indeed scary, Skrtel is no leader and Agger doesn’t have that bite or those eyes that Mascherano had. Most of you will point out that Mascherano wasn’t a centre-back which is true, but he was solid sitting above the back four, providing that aggression which I’m not sure Lucas possesses.

In my view we’re far too nice a team at times and we lack leaders outside of Gerrard, Carragher and arguably Agger. Pepe Reina has in the past been seen as a leader, however he’s looked erratic of late; his usually sound communication struggling too often to organize a wall.

Rodgers always bemoans the lack of ‘power, character and aggression’ – something which can’t be taught on a football field. Maybe this would explain his desire to give Shelvey a run of games; someone with all the raw tools, yet lacks consistency. Most fans taking him to their hearts when he blasted Fergie for conspiring to get him sent-off.

If there’s an insight in Rodgers’ all time Premier League XI it’s that as well as those who have good technical ability on the ball and movement, Rodgers will look to sign players who have something about them. Strong, talented, and agile people who will fight for a win and who have true desire to win matches and championships.

There’s no coincidence with teams who win titles, often do so by getting results in the dying seconds of a game. Hunger in a player is a key element in the mind of Rodgers, he’s said before: if you don’t want to be a Liverpool player then you know where the door is.

Time will tell whether our youth have such characteristics, or indeed whether agree with his approach.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnRitchie84


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12 thoughts on “The Profile of a Brendan Rodgers Player

  • Higgs Boson
    1 year ago

    A very interesting article. It’s a thing that has annoyed me about Liverpool teams for years. I couldn’t imagine being intimidated by any of them baring the odd player here and there. And even though it appears like what you say is correct. Rodgers’ transfers to date create a massive contradiction, Borini, Assaidi and Allen all come across as ‘nice’ guys. They wouldn’t frightening me anyway if I was lining up against them. Suarez, Carra and Sturridge for me are the only ones who have what you are talking about. Oh and after Shelvey’s outburst against Funguson, he was licking his arse a couple of games later………..he hasn’t got it either or indeed the football ability.

    Reply
  • Voland
    1 year ago

    Replying to Higgs Boson, that rare particle: As John points out, Liverpool under Benitez did have that aggression in the shape of Mascherano, not to mention Gerrard, Kyut and in fact Skrtel. Rafa’s supreme tactics and the will to win within the team was behind good performances against Mourinho’s almighty Chelsea and, of course, the victory in Istanbul (although this was before most of the players mentioned above had come into the team).

    Reply
    • Higgs Boson
      1 year ago

      Emmmm ok, but Kuyt and Gerrard are both nice guys and Skittle is no John Terry. There’s a difference. I think Benitez’ system was one of aggression but I wouldn’t call a lot of the players he had aggressive. Hard/big maybe, but not in the CL of aggression. Mascherano was though for me.

      Reply
  • Harvey
    1 year ago

    Yes…and Leo Messi is the most aggressive player on the planet haha…

    Reply
  • Snake Plissken
    1 year ago

    Brenda’s team have no collective spirit, fighting qualities or ruthlessness. This reminds me of the Roy Evans era where we played some beautiful passing football at times but there was no sense of urgency or ruthless efficiency. Some of our displays are like exhibition matches, Brenda needs to sign competitive aggressive players with a nasty disposition to change things. Even though Gerrard is a legend, even he will be regarded as too nice a guy, Souness was once described as ‘playing the game with a machete in one hand and a club in the other hand’, now thats what weve missed for 20 odd years.

    Reply
    • Brian
      1 year ago

      100% Correct . Rodgers is not buying right type of player . He buys wimps

      Reply
  • Brian
    1 year ago

    Commonly known fact – 99.9% of Northern Irish people support either Liverpool or Man U, im Northern Irish i know .

    We know Rodgers was NOT a Liverpool fan growing up , if he was he would have shouted it from the rooftops . No mention ever of who he did support ( Surprisingly ) .Might explain why he is so pally with ferguson

    Reply
    • Mahj
      1 year ago

      He has admitted that he is a Ballingtonchester Rovers supporter.

      Reply
    • TaintlessRed
      1 year ago

      Hmm, yeah. Good point, perhaps he’s in that 1% who don’t support either.

      Reply
    • GAZ
      1 year ago

      You may have something there

      Reply
  • Zinco
    1 year ago

    He’s building technique and squad depth first . The ability to play. Then comes the finishing touches. The icing on the cake. Your aggression. Sterling is aggressive he’s only 17 . Things take time . Wisdom is a monster for. a kid. Hope this

    Reply
  • TaintlessRed
    1 year ago

    This is a fascinating article John, thanks. I’d never seen this motd3 programme and certainly makes interesting reading.
    I agree that, with the exception of Henry & Zola, it is full of players who are aggressive and have edge. Scholes may be awful at tackling but that never stops himself throwing himself into them.
    No Gerrard is a bit surprising, but he’s clearly valued great players who have won lots of medals over those who have won less.
    The most interesting points for me are:
    1) like u say he hasn’t gone 433, his willingness to drop 433 and play Suarez off Sturridge recently perhaps is a good sign that he isn’t as married to a single formation as he initially seemed to be
    2) he’s gone for two no-nonsense defender’s defenders at centre back rather than ball players. Though perhaps with the players ahead that team doesn’t need great passers from the back. Unfortunately Cole and Neville are shoeins for full backs as there’s no real competition there.

    Reply

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