People often talk about being in the right time at the right place.
They often wish they were in that position.
But too often they aren’t.
Brendan Rodgers just could be.
A year ago, when Rodgers joined the club, he was a long way from that position but a lot of things have changed.
The most successful manager in the league, Alex Ferguson, has just departed. His replacement, David Moyes, has done OK at Everton but in 11 years he never actually won anything. He’s never had to cope with the expectation that he’ll find at Manchester United. Likewise, he’ll suddenly have to deal with better players and their egos. So despite winning the league, the club is in a transitional stage.
Meanwhile at Manchester City a new manager has also joined. He’ll inevitably bring in new players and try to implement new ideas. Manuel Pellegrini is new to the league and success is hard to achieve overnight. The club is in a transitional stage.
Arsenal haven’t won anything for eight years. Their manager, Arsene Wenger has refused to spend big money on players for those eight years. Now he’s ready to spend £70m on new recruits if you believe the rumours. The club is in a transitional stage.
Tottenham too are in a funny situation. At the moment they aren’t good enough to challenge for honours. They have one of the best players in the world in Gareth Bale but they are a bit of a one-man team. They desperately need to keep the Welshman and add two or three top players. If they were to lose Bale, they would have a lot more work to do in order to become successful. The club is in a transitional stage.
Over in West London, a familiar face has returned. Mourinho has flown back into town with boasts that he’s ready to put his worst ever season behind him and sentimental talk about how he’s loved by the club. Well he may be loved by the fans but his relationship with Abramovich has been strained in the past. How long can the billionaire owner go before he starts getting involved in football decisions? How long can Mourinho keep his ego in check and allow his Russian boss to interfere before he initiates a power struggle that he can’t win? There’s also a big job to do on the pitch. Several Chelsea players are coming to the end of their careers – they are not as good as they used to be. Now according to Rafa Benitez, Jose will have £100m to spend on building a team. But will the players he buys gel? Will the manager be as successful the second time around? If he’s not immediately successful, will Roman stick with him? The club, once again, is in a transitional stage.
Which brings me to Liverpool. The club is also in a transitional stage. But with his first season out of the way and his ideas already in place, Brendan Rodgers just might have an advantage. With no European football, the Liverpool players will have to cope with a lot less fixtures than they have been used to. And if Rodgers were to focus primarily on the league he could use the two cups to give experience to younger players, keep fringe players happy and put others in the shop window. There’s still much to be done. The club will need two players for each position. And we’ll need to make sure that we have more experience in the squad so we don’t repeat the mistakes that were there for all to see at the start of last season. Some say Liverpool have to keep hold of Suarez. I say we have to keep hold of him unless we can replace him with someone who is just as good. After all, he’s missing for the first six weeks of the campaign. We’ve gone some way to replacing Carragher in the shape of Kolo Toure. He’s experienced and he’s a winner. Liverpool need more of the same. The club is at a pivotal point. I have been critical of both Rodgers and the board over the past year but now there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the uncertainty at the other top clubs and the board have to back the manager financially. Another quality centre back is still needed as is a striker, a midfielder and perhaps even a goalkeeper. But if Rodgers can get these players in and focus solely on the league – he could just be in the right place at the right time.