Profiling the Liverpool Player

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 by Redfellar @Redfellar

There’s 5 days left of the 2013 Summer Transfer Window. That’s 5 days for the club to go out and buy the goal-providing left winger Brendan wants, and the first team center-half the squad needs. But as it stands, there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that someone is definitely coming in. There’s evidence the club are trying; but there’s just none that say that any arrival is imminent. Now that can be slightly worrying, but right now it’s not all doom and gloom.

Rodgers has time and time again stated what type of player he wants in the club. He wants them to be hungry, he wants them to show commitment through passion, he wants them to have the right characteristics. There is no way on this earth that Rodgers would sign a top, top player on the wages such a player would demand, if he was only going to put in 70%, even 80%. When a player pulls on that shirt, Brendan Rodgers expects the player to fight for it.

“I’m not interested in a player who doesn’t work, even if he’s the best. I want players who train with passion, discipline and motivation.” – Arrigo Sacchi

In two cases this summer, we’ve seen a good quality player who has been linked with Liverpool, but the club have not gone as far as to sign them up. Which two? Eriksen and Willian. Firstly Eriksen, who failed to rule out a proposed move to Liverpool. The club was frequently floated around the player, however there was no ‘Liverpool are a club where I would like to play,’ like there was a Dortmund quote. More recently, there’s Willian. A player who seemed to be holding talks with every club in England until Chelsea (and quite possibly a larger pay packet) came knocking, stealing him from right under Tottenham’s noses (which prompted a rather ironic quote from Villas-Boas about Chelsea stealing Tottenham’s targets). Rodgers was quoted saying that Willian would have been “perfect for us,” style-wise, I’m sure, but I would personally contest that he had the right characteristics for the club.

The reality is that the market for players with both quality and the required traits is a thin one. There’s not too many players available who can tick all the boxes and that makes the Liverpool scouting team’s jobs that bit more difficult. We’ve also seen the painful scenario where we have identified the player, but said player has chosen to sign with a Champions League side, instead. An unfortunate effect of our near five-year absence from the competition. So what happens then? We get move on, and identify the next target.

“For a player to be good enough to play for Liverpool, he must be prepared to run through a brick wall for me then come out fighting on the other side.” – Bill Shankly

That quote by Shankly has been reworded almost by Rodgers when talking about his personal belief in young players:

“I believe a young player will run through a barbed wire fence for you. An older player looks for a hole in the fence, he’ll try and get his way through it some way, but the young player will fight for you.”

Coupled with his various other quotes, it really is plain to see how important the attitude of the player is for Rodgers’ Liverpool. You can also look at his handling of Luis Suárez this summer. There were doubts about Luis’ commitment to the team, so he was removed from the group and made to train alone until that commitment was reaffirmed. To remove an individual of Luis’ caliber, who was the focul point of the team last season, scoring 30 goals, and having a campaign that prompted him to being voted Player of the Season by fans, just because there was reason to believe there was a lack of commitment on his behalf, shows just how important it is to this Liverpool team.

Brendan’s detailed profiling of what kind of players he wants at the club is no surprise though. It comes from his ‘silver shovel’ upbringing, the work ethic he, himself has and it’s no less when you hear what certain individuals that he has worked under say.

“It is a sentence I always say on the first day: ‘If you are a top professional, if you are not a selfish person, if you put the club in front of yourself and if you are here to work 100 per cent for me, for your fellow players and for the club, then we will have a wonderful relationship.” – José Mourinho

There is no doubt what we need to add to the team, and unfortunately, we may have to wait until January to do so. But it’s nothing to start citing impending failure over, and it’s certainly not reason to call for heads to roll. It’s better to have the right players you want, rather than to panic and spend big on players you might not.

Beyond this transfer window, and throughout the – hopefully long – Rodgers era, we will see a certain brand of football played by the Liverpool team. But more importantly, we will see a certain brand of player playing it.