By: Aakash Munjal
In BR we trust.
I couldn’t agree more with this piece they said in Outsideoftheboot:“football, over the last couple of seasons, has been witnessing ‘change of guard’. Players who we adored in their prime have retired, managers that headed some of the greatest sides in history have resigned giving rise to the next generation football personnel, whose talent showcased some incredible, unpredictable games”
41 year old Brendan Rodgersis one of the youngest football managers to see this kind of considerable success especially considering he came to Liverpool in a very difficult time. For someone who abides by the code of conduct, he is known to have reinvented The Liverpool style , a cultural change bought by someone I strongly believe has a rare ingredient that is unheard of in the adrenalin driven world – EQ. Probably that’s why it so easy to trust him to lead your team to glory !
Taken from The Independent:”Brendan will walk in here and remember the names of everyone sitting at the bar,” says Debbie Burns, landlady of McCauley’s the Bridge bar in Carnlogh. “He’ll have a bit of time for everybody and even though he wouldn’t be a big drinker now he won’t rush, he enjoys himself when he comes in with his brothers.” This the man who has not only taken Liverpool back to the Champions League, while making the club a formidable force, but has installed an amazing culture at the club as well.
A small piece of history that you, in all probability, already know:Diagnosed with a genetic knee condition, his football career was short-lived and he opted out of it at the age of 20 to pursue his study of coaching methods. After a disappointing spell at Reading, returned to full-time management with Swansea City in 2010. He led the club to win promotion to the Premier League, the first Welsh team ever to do so, before guiding them to finish 11th the following season(btw Swansea were favourites to be relegated among bookies). In 2012, BR was roped in by Liverpool . “He couldn’t have written a better script for himself”.
After 2 years at Liverpool, how do you gage his success? Expectedly, his tenure at Liverpool started gradually, with the club finishing 7th (one position higher than the previous season). But 2013-14 season started with a real bang! He was awarded with PL manager of the month, as the team won its first 3 games. The success continued in the month of March, where he was again awarded the Manager of the month. We all know how the season ended and that has settled BR at the Melwood more than any other manager in recent past. And that has to do not only with the success of the team with respect to coming back the CL, but also the way it happened:
- Liverpool played the Liverpool way: We scored 101 goals in the season, second only to the Champions City. There was a global consensus that Liverpool played the most attractive football in the league. The team not only managed to win week in week out, but they had put a grin on our faces, with the way they demolished the opponents including the likes of Arsenal and Spurs. I don’t remember when was the last time we did the in the PL. It was fast, counter attacking football, with which Liverpool usually went 1-0 up by the time the opponent could settle down. It was certainly the style of football, BR pushed thru the system.
- An Eye for Talent: Sterling was picked and signed by Liverpool from QPR academy by Rafael Benitez in 2010, but he made his first senior debut on March 2012. Then he was only 17 years, making him second youngest player ever for the club to appear in PL. BR did not hesitate to introduce him in PL as well as in Europe at that age. In fact very soon, he started to be a part of regular squad and played full 90 Minutes. He also became the second youngest player to score for Liverpool – in a competitive fixture, only after “One Owen”. That was the time and today, he is an obvious part of the first team selection, not only for his pace and assists for goals, but for he being an immaculate finisher himself now. Brendan played an obvious part in this success and when Sterling scored THAT opening goal against City last year, BR must be so proud.
Brendan did not have too much to spend in the transfer market. But he has developed the talent immensely –Philippe Coutinho and Jordon Henderson. As Ian Holloway said in The Mirror: “he is clearly committed to developing talent as much as recruiting through the transfer market.Henderson’s rebirth is a credit to him and his manager for not giving up on a player who had lost his way following a big-money transfer.”
- A man on a mission (and he knows what he is doing): Ben Smith writes this for BBC: “On his desk, colour-coded files hold the secrets behind the transformation – the tactical intelligence, hunting in packs, pace on the counter attack. Detail is everything and each training session is planned meticulously, with a four-day schedule designed to lead the players into game day.”And this “Rodgers himself has also changed. Mind games have gone – now his players do the talking. Where once “relentless possession” was his managerial pillar, Manchester City(3-2), Arsenal (5-1), Tottenham (4-0) and Everton (4-0) were torn apart by counter-attacking football coupled with a relentless and devastating pressing game. Rodgers’s players practice the “five-second rule”, in which the team press their opponents immediately on losing possession for five seconds, before easing back. They then wait for precise triggers to press again. If a pass bounces off a foot, or an attacker needs to look down at the ball – as soon as their opponents’ options are limited, Liverpool pounce. Possession is no longer the be all and end all. Liverpool are arguably at their most dangerous when they don’t have the ball.”
- Down to Earth, a learner: calm, calculated, very down to earth, and never panicked. Brendan has no arrogance about him at all. He knows his stuff and speaks with confidence. He always knew exactly what he wanted to do.He termed his learning with Mourinho as “going to harvard”. Let’s not forget that during his tough times, Sir Alex Ferguson took time to dictate a letter to be sent to Rodgers, asking him to keep his chin up and that his time would come. And success hasn’t changed him at all. We can see that in his interviews.
The thought of 2014-2015 season fills us with an unbelievable excitement, but we are also aware, that it will be a different challenge all together with Suarez gone and we have CL in our calendar as well. We may not see the dominance Liverpool showcased last season, but hey, that’s the exciting part of this game and we need to say “here we go again” as BR has made us Believe!