Rodgers’ Reds Revolution Readying Ruthless Response
Brendan Rodgers resembled a man who was self-assured while not over-confident. There was an undercurrent of faith and conviction in his voice, perhaps the result of an upbeat training session.
Although the Reds are 5/1 to succeed in a title challenge for the 2014/15 season, this was in October 2013, Liverpool had started their campaign well. Doubters were already casting aspersions that they wouldn’t maintain a credible Premier League challenge.
He remained focused, however; his response clearly indicating the belief he had in the team: “We still have a lot to improve on; we’ve won four games out of six, which is great for our confidence and belief and the spirit in the team is really good.
“We still have work to do in terms of our performance level consistently over the games. But I’m really happy that we’ve continued to carry on from last season and win games, make points.
“As we sit second, we still have a lot of development to do. At this moment in time, I’m relatively pleased, but there’s still a long way to go.”
He was right, there certainly was. In the following months, he engineered incredible results. A 5-0 win at White Hart Lane, and a 4-0 battering of bitter rivals Everton, were succeeded by a 3-0 triumph at Old Trafford and a 3-2 victory against Premier League champions Manchester City.
His approach to the game did not waver, even if personnel changed: “I’ve always said that the system is irrelevant,”
“What’s more important for me is the style of football, how we play – the style to dominate the ball, to control the game, control and dictate the tempo of the game, be aggressive in your defending when you haven’t got the ball, press high up the field to get it back.
“That style doesn’t change; it just goes into a system that fits your players. At the minute, that’s the system that allows the best out of the players we have available.
“If that changes, we may play a different system. But the style will always remain intact – it’s to control and dominate the ball.”
Key to the manager’s plans are his attacking trio – the SAS. Designed to strike fear into opponents and more commonly known as Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, Rodgers has formed a basis to his team’s attack that has cutting edge and dynamism.
Having just come up short in the challenge for first, the managerial hierarchy have identified the kind of personnel that they need in order to go one better. The positive thing for Reds fans is that Rodgers’ ambition has foundation, and he is keeping his feet on the ground. Speaking at the end of the season, it was clear that the boss had done his homework, and knows exactly what he wants.
“Our criteria that we look for is players with strong technique and football intelligence. They need to mentally have the attitude and the capacity to learn and they have to be so hungry to fight for every ball on every day in training and in the game.
“You’ll get some players who are specialists and who need to play in particular positions, but if we can get players in who are multi-functional, and can play in different roles and are multi-dimensional in their work, it sets us up and gives me more options as a coach.
“We’ve developed tactically over the last couple of years.
“Our style has been the same, but the structure of the team has changed a number of times in order to fit the needs of the games and to give problems to the opponent.
“In order to do that, you need players with the capacity to be tactically intelligent. It also allows you to keep your squad smaller and tighter.”
With Southampton pair Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren linked recently, as well as Sevilla left back Alberto Moreno and Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez; Liverpool fans, and the rest of the Premier League, watch this space.