Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Rodgers happy to make tough calls

Brendan Rodgers has made wholesale changes since arriving at Liverpool

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers accepts he may have made some unpopular decisions but he insists it is all for the good of the club.

Despite guiding the Reds to the top of the table with a 100 per cent record after three matches his judgement has continued to be questioned in some quarters.

Letting established goalkeeper Jose Reina go out on loan to Napoli this summer was greeted with incredulity by some, although his replacement Simon Mignolet's early performances have gone some way to assuaging doubts.

Only last weekend Rodgers' decision to field four centre-backs in defence in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton was roundly criticised.

But the Northern Irishman insists he is only concerned with the long-term future of the club and will continue to make calls he feels are necessary in order to restore the Reds back into Europe's elite.

"I know I can sleep at night knowing I will do the very best for the supporters and the club," he told talkSPORT.

"Sometimes, especially at the beginning of something which is delicate and difficult, you'll make decisions which maybe are unpopular.

"But I want to be the one who steers the club back in the direction it should be going in and that is not easy.

"I know I am making decisions in the best interests of the club and that will always be the case.

"It has never been easy for them (fans) I've had to make decisions that were probably unpopular for players go and I had to adjust the finances of the club as well.

"There was a difficult period at the beginning but we have grown and become better and better and I have great confidence in the coming months and years we can push on with that development."

While some of his other decisions may have been questioned the stance Rodgers took over Luis Suarez this summer, with the player openly criticising his manager and the club for reneging on a deal to allow him to leave for a Champions League side, was praised.

Backed by principal owner John Henry, Rodgers remained steadfast the Uruguay international would not be leaving, even though he had caused plenty of headaches for the manager after getting banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in April.

Rodgers will be looking for some sort of payback from the 26-year-old on his return to the side in the Capital One Cup against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"Now he comes back we are getting a £50-60million striker back in the team and that is exciting for us," he added.

"This is a player who can come in and make a difference for us.

"All you can do now is judge him by his performances on the field. The measure for Luis now is on the field.

"His way to say sorry or make any contribution back to the supporters is to play with his heart 100 per cent and score goals and make this team successful and I am confident that will happen.

"He can't play any other way."

Liverpool missed the creativity of injured playmaker Philippe Coutinho at the weekend after the 21-year-old underwent surgery on a shoulder problem.

He is unlikely to be fit again until the end of October but is trying to remain upbeat.

"It's annoying to get injured, especially when you are playing well, but that happens," he told Globo Esporte.

"I now want to focus on my recovery, and do everything right to be back as soon as possible to help Liverpool in the league.

"The surgery was a success and this is what matters the most. I'll be back soon.

"Of course it's bad when you get injured in a moment like this, but this is football.

"I have had a setback and my concern is being fully ready as soon as possible."

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