My excitement for Brendan Rodgers

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Just under two weeks prior to Brendan Rodgers being appointed Liverpool manager, he publicly rejected the position. After all, it was the media who had put his name on the shortlist, not the owners. He said he wasn’t interested, knowing the whole time that he’d accept an offer if it was ever put on the table. This way, he knew that if the Liverpool board still came after him even though he’d already said “no”, then he’d be their man.

It was this piece of smart, witty mind-games from the Northern Irishman that won me over.

Personally, I found it hard in the days following Kenny Dalglish’s dismissal. To see one of my idol’s leave the club I love so much was never going to be easy. However the smart, well thought-out decision to appoint Rodgers as his replacement has reignited my excitement for the future of the Liverpool Football Club.

Rodgers’ football philosophy is so intriguing, so unique and so extremely promising. The ‘tiki-taka’ brand, learnt from Barcelona, worked wonders on his Swansea side last season, and caught the eye of football lovers around the world.

The ‘1-2-6-1′ formation which he implemented whilst in Wales was fascinating to watch. His sides starved good opposition of the ball, forcing them into mistakes. His players were patient in their build up, finding space, working as a unit, picking their opportunities. When they lost the ball, their hunger and work rate to retrieve it was just as impressive as when they had it. It guided Swansea to 11th on the Premier League table, despite his side being favourites for relegation at the beginning of the season.

Under Rodgers, Swansea beat quality opposition – the likes of Premier League winners Manchester City, Arsenal and even Liverpool were all outsmarted by Rodgers’ fluent passing, possession-based style.

Back in November last year, when Swansea earned a 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, Rodgers’ side won 55% of possession. Rarely does a side, regardless of their quality, dominate Liverpool in that area of the game, especially at Anfield.

Returning to Rodgers’ famous ‘1-2-6-1’ formation – he likens his goalkeeper’s more as outfield players than shot stoppers, player’s who can provide an outlet for his defender’s. He plays with two attacking centre backs who act as quarter backs, setting up plays moments before they occur. His six midfielders are broken up across different areas of the park, where they work in tandem with each other to create space and dominate possession.

It’s a game style so incredibly unique, implemented by a man who has spent time at Barcelona, studying the best ‘tiki-taka’ experts in the game.

However on top of this, Rodgers is a man with a calm head to back up his footballing sentiment.

Upon arriving at Anfield, he outlined the need to be realistic with the club’s aims. He realises transforming this club won’t happen overnight. This is why he needs our patience. The adoring fans of the Liverpool Football Club must put their thirst for Champions League football behind them to allow for the players to adapt to Rodgers’ style.

Even if it takes three years, Rodgers has a plan for this club. As long as there’s improvement, we must be patient. We must earn our place back amongst England and Europe’s best.

Whilst streaming Rodgers’ first ever press conference, I was so engaged with what he was saying it was like I was trapped, absorbing every word that he’d said. He spoke brilliantly, and showcased his thorough knowledge of the game.

I was impressed by his first appearance as Liverpool manager, and felt even more enthused by his appointment when he revealed he had refused to sign if a Director of Football was brought in. It showed Rodgers’ ambition to be in total control of this club. He wants it his way, and nothing will stop him from getting it his way.

He’s already promised to “fight for his life” for the club and its supporters, and if we give him our full backing, I know his amazing tactical knowledge of the game will get us back to where we belong.

Source –

Twitter –!/a_liverbird


  1. Big Words for a untested Manager!! Liverpool fans will need patience to accept this type of play , i feel all Kop fans will not be so accomadating accepting this new era of football style .

  2. You write good articles, but your math sucks.

    1 + 2 + 6 + 1 does not add up to 11. This proves that football has nothing to do with mathematics, and all that talk about unique formations used by ingenious tactician managers is pure fantasy IMO. The only unique things Swansea did last season was avoiding the long hoofing pass, and running more and with better purpose than their average opponents. All this talk about tiki taka makes no sense to me.

    Likewise, your average Joe Blow fan could have done a better job picking the team and giving tactical instructions than Kenny Dalglish did last season. I truly and firmly believe that. No one in their right mind would have continued to pick Henderson and Downing as starters for the wide forward positions, and the club failed miserably for not stopping the stubborn Dalglish mule from continuing with this nonsense.

    1. so is 4 4 2 , 4 3 3 and 4 5 1 !!!!! so you don’t count the goalkeeper simple as that!!!!because there only one position for them is between the stick!!!!

      1. Did you actually read this blog?

        He specifically states that the `1` is the goalkeeper, who is part of the tiki taka, the `2` are the CBs, the `6` are the midfielders. He specifically states so, and he DOES in fact count the goalkeeper.

        Since you are shocked, what did you think the `1` referred to? A single CB, or maybe a DM who plays behind the CBs??

    2. On response to Kengkinny,

      I honestly was shocked to read your note about 1-2-6-1 being only 10.
      I thought even a child knew that formation only ever refers to outfield. You can only have 1 goal keeper so it goes without saying u have one in goal.

      4-4-2, 3-5-1. All add up to 10. I hope that helps

    3. KengKinny, when did I state the ‘1’ specifically referred to the goal keeper? All I said was that the goalkeeper often acted as an outfield player? In fact, I never mentioned the ‘1’ sweeper at the back, just like I never mentioned the ‘1’ forward up front.

  3. Personally I am slightly depressed by this appointment, At least with Martinez you knew he could avoid relegation. Got to let FSG try their system and will try to back the new manager and givehim time . Lets hope this huge gamble pays off . Gamble- because he has won nothing yet.Depressed -because I think we had a Ferguson like dynasty forming under Benitez.
    As for style of play lets wait and see it might be fine.
    Swansea were not exactly Barcelona, but personally I dislike the way Barcelona play. Seven dwarfs in midfield strangling the hell out of the game-little passes to each other and running through the legs of normal sized players. With apologies to all dwarfs -nothing against you.

  4. Liverpool couldn’t have got a better manager in Rodgers imo
    He’s going to do great things at Liverpool..

  5. I notice Liverpool start the new season in sixth place on alphabetical order.So we’ve already jumped two places since the end of last season.Have to take the positives?

  6. I think Brendan Rodgers is the new Shankly and I do believe for all FSG’s mistakes and lack of knowledge about football, they have stumbled onto a winner. God’s providence! Now, I say Shanks and Rodgers not purely because they both came out of obscurity and smaller clubs, nor just because of the resemblance (although I’ve never seen them in the same room haha!). Nor am I saying it because of the obvious “non-English yet British” connection, but rather, it’s mostly in two things: 1. Footballing Philosophy, and 2. His method/styles – the way BR has conducted himself.

    Now, I totally agree with your blog post here, I too was won over by the way Brennos handled the approach by FSG in a fortnight when it seemed (just about) this American bulldog was chasing every managerial cat up a tree in its scour for a new appointment. While Liverpool are at a crucial juncture of their history (right on the 120 year mark), they increasingly look like a man chasing a car down a road. This is exactly why everyone knows this appointment needed to be the most radical one if FSG were to prove they weren’t yet another couple of American short term capitalists like H&G, and getting tax corporate haven Delaware registered holding companies to hold Liverpool and slap debt on them without a valid action plan. For me, FSG’s appointing Brendan Rodgers is an assurance to me that perhaps they are not going down that H&G route, with a classic Wall Street “Buy-Fix-Sell” strategy that looked that way (let’s not kid anyone) up until the annual reports and budget last month came out (50 million quid went into a nonexistent stadia write off under H&G and their crony architects/business dealings for Stanley Park- unbelievable!). So, with a willingness to appoint Brendan Rodgers, it signals to me that perhaps Henry, Werner & Co are willing to stick it out on a more long term basis, and cement an actual sustainable business model with ties back to Boston and American business (and not just the Sox but to NB and Warrior etc), and we can expect more American sponsors too by 2013. I take this very positively, even albeit the whole “lets refurbish Anfield road” in the poorest parts of Merseyside rather than build a whole new stadia, because, for me at least, it shows they are perhaps looking for a long term thing. I could be wrong of course, and they could do a cowboy u-turn and Rodgers could be a ruse, but somehow I doubt they’d risk that much given the circumstances they took over with the club a day from administration and what happened with RBS, especially with the court case appeal from the previous clowns still pending in terms of compo payments, and litigation remaining. I think, they like any good investor, needed to be in it for a longer term investment, and they know that, for all dividends to yield ROI.

    Brendan Rodgers is the type of manager you only hire for a long term project, as certainly with those “brand name managers” they would always reveal their true intentions for a fat paycheck and instant success because none of the Ancelottis or whatever would want to manage a club where they couldn’t earn big and have the chance of winning within a year. This weeds out the De Boers, etc and like I said, FSG, for all its lack of PR skills in their approach for a new manager, have stumbled onto the right path, somehow! By doing it this way, it seemed they lowered the club’s standing, but on one hand, that was also the very thing the club needed to get back on the humble path toward realism and away from the nostalgia idealists brigade, that was stopping the club from being real with itself.

    To succeed, the club needs to go back to how “Shankly became Shankly” and Rodgers is the man to do that. You see, if you are going to do the whole idealism path of holding on to past glory of the 70s and 80s (which were no doubt great times), you are losing the plot. See, in order to recreate the 70s and 80s, you need to recreate the engine of what made the 60s and early 70s, that paved the way for the late 70s and 80s. You can’t expect to just jump back and get Paisley and Fagan and the boot room and the fruits of all that joy and Groberlaar kicking the lightswitch moments, you need to first go back to the 60s and recreate the humility of what Shankly rolled up his sleeves and knuckled down to lay foundation bricks with.

    In this sense, Rodgers will be the perfect guy to do that! He can be humble, he can eat humble pie, he knows he has to prove himself as a non player turned coach, he knows he is a young un, he knows he has to work his socks off, he knows he is not “entitled” to a fat paycheck and ginger beer and cake. He will return to the roots. This therefore, is the best appointment Liverpool can make, that not only keeps the club’s history and soul alive by staying British, but also, in going for a long term plan. None of the Van Gaals, and brand named lads were going to love the club or bleed for the club like that, no, not even a Pep Guardiola. This is why trying to bring one of those in was actually suicide, no matter what Steve McManaman said about Liverpool not being able to bring in those names even if they wanted to, that is not the point, the truth is, people who see that and look at things like that are only looking at the immediate. When will people learn to look at history in terms of slices of time, in terms of chapters, circular eras, time and space, and ergo, gain foresight, and look beyond?

    Again, Brendan Rodgers is the step in the right direction.

    Now, the brand name Guardiolas wouldn’t come because they want instant success and not have to labour under pressure to build a squad and club, for the long term, but that’s my whole point- those are exactly the guys you don’t want! FSG are no saints as owners of course, in fact, typical of fans we always see things in black or white, but why can’t it be a spectrum. Maturity lies in handling the tensions of both greys and not having your cake and defining it whilst eating it too. FSG are good in some ways, stupid in others, and grey in between. We always define people and situations linearly, why can’t it be multi-linear? FSG are silly in the way they handle PR and sack Dalglish without having a clue and a plan, but, they are also smart in their capitalism skills, and completely blessed because they stumbled onto a winner in Rodgers.

    Conventional wisdom of the era will tell you to interview every man and his dog for the manager’s job and FSG are so ignorant about “soccer” that they even wanted to split the coach and manager role into a football director and coaching role along the lines of having Van Gaal become the “new Commoli”, and yes they are stupid for that, but look how Rodgers navigated that one! He now gets to dictate his terms having held out. And FSG are now forced down because people who wanted full control wouldn’t take the job unless it fit their billing anyway, and that’s not even the whole point. The point, is, by stumbling, FSG, have somehow stumbled onto a winner. Yes, they could have learnt how to do things better, not air their laundry in public, yes, Ian Ayre and the whole lot of them can improve the LFC PR machine. But they have stumbled onto a winner. And I am willing to say I think Brendan Rodgers is a sure winner.

    Ostensibly, if you look at Rodgers’ CV, he may not have much experience, but he has worked two decades in football and climbed, and his Reading experience will have made him appreciate LFC so much now, his Chelsea experience made him able to galvanise LFC’s future, and his Swansea experience will show you that although Swansea and Liverpool are different school of fish entirely, it shows you what he can do with the resources at his disposal. Furthermore, he is not your typical British coach aiming to “return things for nostalgia’s sake” with typical chronological snobbery. He is football philosopher who has an impressive continental approach to the game having studied with great coaches like Rinus Michaels, having spoken Spanish, learnt from La Masia and Barcelona, and other Spanish sides, and having been given the green light from ironically, the very “brand name” coach of this decade, Jose Mourinho, having also the money to back where his mouth his when in the mid 2000s he made him head up Chelsea’s Academy setup. I think, when you look at Rodgers, and that he is a student of the game, he strikes you as not being your typical British “boot longballs up the park” or a tactical fluke like Hodgson and Redknapp, nor even a well intentioned Curbishley, Pardew, or Pulis, nor idealists like Keegan and Venables or flat out crazy ambitious continental crazy like Robson or Ardiles. Nor is he a continental approach only Wenger, Houllier or Benitez, he is a blend of all these. And to me, that makes him superbly poised to take the club forward.

    That class he showed when he said he would wait until FSG came a second time if they really wanted him, demonstrates great restraint and confidence, and shows you he knows what he wants and that he does have a plan and knows his philosophy. It also shows you he does not jump at every treat waved his way. That is silent power, and if he has the wherewithal to turn down big money capitalist owners, Rodgers can stand up with character in a dressing room full of egos like he is going to inherit. Lastly, it shows you he is a calculated tactician, and a supremely eloquent PR master. He was doing what the great Edward De Bono taught in lateral thinking, by turning a disadvantageous situation into the most lucrative one in one chess move.

    By turning down LFC’s owners as they chased every cat up a tree, he spared himself Martinez’s PR blushes (and PR brushes with hothead owners aka Dave W), but also meant that he didn’t even board the merry go round kerfuffle, and simply waited for the ride to end before taking the prom queen home. Not only did he get his prom queen job done, and get offered the job, he then gets to dictate exactly knowing his position against FSG is that he now knows he is truly desired, and gets to say, “I’m not going to work with no Football director and I won’t eat any Louis Van Gaal spam sandwich emails”. Brilliant. It is Sun Tzu stuff, and if Rodgers is as skilled as he is with this as he is with the tactics and technical delivery next season, he would do better than Dalglish already. He also says the right things, and rightly respects Dalglish for who he is and what he achieved. This is a man of character and attitude, just go read his interview where he came closest to “criticising” referee Chris Foy earlier this year- he hardly even did! Just look at how he speaks, respecting Shankly, going to the roots of the club, honouring his parents (who have both passed on), saying he is doing it as a representative of them both, making a bee line for the tea lady! I mean, come on, this is not Roy of the Rovers stuff, but, when a man has CHARACTER, everything else is added. Even the Christian Holy Bible tells us this in the Gospels about Jesus Christ.

    Brendan Rodgers has bags of character, and is a family man. He will bring something to Liverpool that will build a dynasty going forward.

    The only question or fear then now, is, will FSG give him that time?

    See, All FSG have to do now, is give him TIME, and not fire him after one season. Let him do a Shankly, and he could become a Ferguson too. Not that I am comparing LFC with MUFC, but you can’t help it can you, both being the two biggest sides in English Football (arguably world football, don’t get me started on Madrid Barca rivalries being bigger- subjective!)

    I mean, Fergie was at Aberdeen and certainly, he won things there, but at Man Utd, he was nearly fired 4 years into the job in 1990 before the FA Cup Final against Palace. Shankly came from a small club and got Liverpool playing in the colours that would make them look 7 feet tall! Is it a coincidence that Warrior have designed a kit that brings back the same Shankly shade of red?

    I mean Fergie nearly got fired in 1990, but he won the FA Cup just in time! Good thing they didn’t fire him or the United domination of the 90s and 00s would never ave happened! Of course, Fergie had Martin Edwards too and took MUFC into the 90s with a business model of capitalising on neo-liberalism and the power of globalisation, which Liverpool failed to ride on when the Premier League went global and LFC failed to ride that wave, costing the club two decades, such that even when it won the UEFA CL in 2005, it couldn’t capitalise financially because it didn’t have the structures in place. I mean, this year LFC celebrates its 120th birthday!! It is even mentioned much?! Why? Because they past 20 years have seen the club wallowing in its own headspace of being nostalgic and living in its past.

    That mentality exactly 20 years ago, cost the club the missed ticket to ride on Globalisation’s rollercoaster (Sky money, Cable TV, Internet bonanza, commercialising the club, going continental, etc) and cost LFC as a club success on the pitch too because Man Utd suddenly came out of nowhere and took that hotseat and went listing the club as a PLC and so on. Liverpool under Souness lost because Souness was too busy trying to redefine the club distinctly from Dalglish before him, and cleared out the old guard whilst being too continental too soon (to be honest Souness was ahead of his time albeit being weak in other areas and for hardcore haters please forget the Sun interview for goodness sake and evaluate by true standards). To be fair, Souness was going continental years before the post-Euro96 fashion of going continental came “in”. Roy Evans merely had time to breathe and steady the ship with a young talented side (who had got caught up with the off the field joys of being in the globalisation side effect of money’s winning waves), but even he was merely trying to recreate good football from the old boot room days, and he was shamefully treated by Moores and the board. For me, the real enemy then is that IT IS A COLLECTIVE “holding onto nostalgia” that has destroyed Liverpool. Not the Spice boys, not Souness, not Moores or Parry. You don’t even need to read Brian Reade column inches or Chris Bascombe pieces to come to that. You can simply read fan posts and comments to see how fickle and demanding LFC fans are. They were used to being the prom queen for two decades and couldn’t swallow not being able to reinvent themselves and their beauty in a new era of internet ecommerce, and global money.

    Houllier came and tried to solve it by going continental, and Benitez too, and there was some success there in measures, but nowhere near what LFC wants- DOMINATION!

    It’s interesting that the new LFC kit makers have a slogan that reads, “Dominate!”

    It will be interesting to see how they do this, but in this new era, FSG have shown in hiring Rodgers, that perhaps they have not only stumbled onto a winner and unearthed an absolute gem, but have themselves shown, a willingness to stick it out in a long term plan.

    The big problem with the past two decades is that when Houllier and Benite delievered without DOMINATION!, the owners Moores and Parry got scared and knew they looked like a man chasing a car down a road, and so they sold to H&G, thinking they could emulate Man United with the Glazers. Either that, or Moores panicked and packed up early.

    The problem with that is that LFC were trying to copy Man Utd, without building on what Man Utd had already built up before the Glazers came in. See, this is the constant problem with LFC, or a prom queen so eager to get her crown back, she ain’t thinking or shooting straight- she’s walking like a drunk on stilletto Jimmy Choos whilst holding a wine glass and mouthing off about how she used to have sugar daddys buy her Georg Jensen earrings for fun.

    The same problem remains. In order to implement the Man U model, you need to build the cement foundations of what they did, not just copy their main foyer level plan for the second floor. It’s the same with the footballing side of things, you can’t just copy the Barcelona way of playing tiki taka, you have to recreate a generation of kids schooled in the La Masia PHILOSOPHY that then engenders and leads to a new generation and philosophy and CULTURE existing throughout the club, that then translates into game play, tactics and technical diversity.

    Liverpool have to acknowledge their situation, but not be depressed about it and give up and be a drunk ex prom queen and opt for quick fix remedies and cosmetic surgery boob jobs and slapping on Man Utd’s model, because, that way, you end up with guys taking you for a quickie in the back of the bar, like Hicks and Gillett, who raped us.

    You need to get back to what made the foundations strong, and spend some quality time investing into rediscovering and reharnessing the basic strings and structures. It will take time.

    This is what I like best about Rodgers’ appointment. It is a long term project, not some slap dash cosmetic fake boobs. This is the only way to stop LFC looking like a man chasing a car down a road. You need a plan, and a wise cat.

    Rodgers is that cat. He demonstrated wisdom beyond his years, because we all know there is no one, especially certainly no one British who would in their right minds turn down the Liverpool job unless they were from that select elite group of “brand name” continental coaches like the Guardiolas, Mourinhos, Ancelottis, Cappellos and so on. In those

    If Liverpool build now under FSG, and with Rodgers given time and this truly is a long term project, they can really literally rehaul the club structure. And this will mean, that with Man City running on Arab money, Chelsea on Russian money, and Man Utd on mountains of debt and saddled by that, Arsenal being too cautious, LFC could seriously be back in contention by the time of the Brazil World Cup year of 2014, possibly sooner! What with the academy kids coming through (say what you want, Benitez and even under Heighway, they didn’t do such a bad job with the kids), you could have a great generation coming up too- with Suso, Sterling and the many other kids and so on. Suarez and Carroll are just getting started, I mean, there is a lot of potential to tap here.

    Add that to a new philosophy under Rodgers, and the fact that Liverpool are still having the most loyal English fanbase in the country, as well as the global fanbase of having been a top club in the 70s and 80s, and the fact that they have mass appeal as the reds in China, Asia, etc, and you are not too far from recreating the brand and adding to its mass appeal. All that is needed is an additional pillar of a BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY model to add on to the FOOTBALL model (which Rodgers will bring), and then all you need is a PR and Social Media model (to harness the power and monetisation of that very fanbase) and you could see Liverpool turn things around.

    Before long, we won’t just be saying “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, the fans (if they can get over their nostalgia), will see the new Rodgers, giving them new songs to write about. He already has demonstrated that he is a man with character, and he shows signs he has a philosophy. Only time now will prove that I am right, and that FSG, for all their mistakes, have stumbled onto a winner, who will bring LFC back to the top of the football hierarchy. Just you watch- Brendan Rodgers is the new Shanky!

    With Regards,
    Stevie Thanabalan

  7. Keng Kinny you haven’t got a clue what your talking about. The way Swansea played last season was amazing. Every player making space for each other, closing down high up the pitch. If you can’t understand the philosophy your a fuckin idiot.

  8. Alfie, same as above applies to you too. You’d rather have Martinez over Rogers? Go support Wigan then. Some of our “fans” are embarrassing.

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