Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has bucked trend by doing it his way

Is Brendan Rodgers set to end 24 years of Anfield hurt?

Who would ever have thought it, that it would take a man from the tiny of village of Carnlough in Co Antrim to revive the fortunes of Liverpool?

Since their last league success 24 years ago the Anfield club has tried different approaches in an attempt to end the title famine.

When Kenny Dalglish sensationally quit in February 1991 – the season after they last won the league – Liverpool stuck with their famous 'Boot Room' tradition by employing one of their own, former captain Graeme Souness, who had won numerous honours in Scotland with Rangers.

Roy Evans, who'd been around the Anfield coaching set-up for years, was to follow him in 1994. After one FA Cup win and a League Cup victory respectively, the club's hierarchy changed direction and went foreign for the first time.

Former France boss Gerard Houllier was brought in to work alongside Evans, although when the partnership, inevitably, failed to work the Frenchman was left to sail the ship alone after just a few months.

Rafael Benitez won the Champions League in 2005, but the best that either him or Houllier could do in the league was to finish second.

The approach changed when Liverpool then employed probably the best, and definitely the most experienced, English manager around at the time in Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson had worked wonders at Fulham, taking them to the Uefa Cup final in 2010, but he flopped at Anfield, lasting until just into the new year, when they decided to go back to the future and hand the reins to Dalglish again.

After twice failing to qualify for the Champions League the club's new American owners said enough was enough and went down a different road.

A manager with no real playing career to speak of and who had managed in the Premier League for only a single season was a major gamble – although surely he couldn't do any worse than those who had gone before him.

His Swansea City team had earned praise for their impressive football and to the Yanks Brendan Rodgers was the right man for the job.

From day one, less than two years ago, Rodgers and Liverpool seemed to be the perfect fit.

Others talked about wanting to do things the Liverpool way. Rodgers said he'd do it his own way – which just happened to very closely match the attractive passing style of football which Anfield fans had become accustomed to during the glory days of the late 1970s and 1980s.

He knows his players, their strengths and weaknesses and brings out the best of what they have. The current Liverpool team plays with pace and energy, as well a quiet confidence that reflects the approach of their manager.

Now he's on the brink of succeeding where those half a dozen others failed – and he'll be handsomely rewarded for delivering well ahead of schedule with a contract that will put him among the highest paid managers in the world.

Such has been Manchester United's dominance of the last 20-odd years their fans mock their Merseyside rivals by joking that 'the only ship that's never been in Liverpool is the Premiership.'

For Brendan Rodgers though, his boat is about to come in, with a shining silver trophy on board.

Further Reading

Norwich City 2-3 Liverpool: Sterling double sees Brendan Rodgers' men get the better of the Canaries

Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool victory over Norwich City inspired by Hillsborough message stuck on changing room walls before kick-off

Steven Gerrard: the Lion of Liverpool who embodies fight for Hillsborough justice 

Source: Independent

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