The Liverpool boss once forced himself to stay up until 3am, scratching around for new ideas…
It’s no secret that Brendan Rodgers was forced into changing Liverpool’s formation after our difficult start to the season, and that it was the disappointment of exiting the Champions League that proved to be the final straw.
Liverpool boss believes Louis van Gaal can emulate Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United
Liverpool v Manchester United: Best-ever LOCAL legends after news of no homegrown talents this weekend
Liverpool transfer news
But now, an intriguing report from the Daily Mail has seemingly revealed a more in-depth assessment of Rodgers’ thought-process, including how our now inspirationally impressive new style was born.
According to the Mail, Rodgers first entertained the idea of using a 3-4-3 formation after Basel employed a similar system against us, during the Swiss side’s 1-0 victory over us late last year.
Why did he hesitate? This was not his usual way of doing things. Far from it in fact. When Rodgers was first interviewed about taking the Liverpool job in 2012, he presented his 180-page dossier about how a team should be managed, with his philosophies built around the 4-3-3 and the 4-4-2 diamond formations.
This was, dating back to Rodgers’ first-steps into management at Reading’s academy, how his teams played.
However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and after defeats to Newcastle United and Crystal Palace – results which had a small minority calling for him to be sacked – he decided to make the change.
According to the report, Rodgers was up late most days following the 3-1 loss at Selhurst Park. On one such occasion, he remained locked in his office until 3am, frantically scrawling notes while nibbling on some toast!
This was where Rodgers came up with his plan of a 3-4-3 formation, with Raheem Sterling providing the pace at the head of the attack – as we continued to cope with the injury absence of Daniel Sturridge.
It was first introduced against Manchester United in mid-December where, despite the defeat, there were plenty of positive signs. Indeed, if it wasn’t for United keeper David de Gea, the result could have been very different.
And now, as we prepare to face United for the first time since that 3-0 humbling at Old Trafford, things have changed. We are coming off the back of a 13-game unbeaten league run, and now sit just two points off the Champions League places.
The one anomaly for Rodgers this season remains Mario Balotelli. The controversial Italian was an expensive gamble – a last resort after failing to sign Alexis Sanchez or Loic Remy.
According to the Mail, Rodgers spent three and a half hours with him in his office, explaining both to Balotelli and his agent what would be expected of him.
He explained his CORE principles of Commitment, Ownership, Responsibilities, Excellence, and even drew a man with a crown on his head, to represent the fact that every player has to take ‘ownership of his role and responsibility for his own destiny’, and that ‘everyone is the king of their own destiny’.
Rodgers spared no expense in his attempts to ensure that Balotelli would be a success. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked, and the report concludes by adding that the 24-year-old will not be at Anfield next season, after what Rodgers deems a ‘lack of respect’.