Saturday 24 February 2018

Liverpool are beginning to click – Rodgers

Carl Markham

Brendan Rodgers feels the backing given to him by owners Fenway Sports Group helped get him through a difficult start to his career as Liverpool manager.

The Northern Irishman endured a tough induction as he replaced club icon Kenny Dalglish and, having reached mid-October with just one Premier League victory, he found everything from his suitability to his methods called into question.

In an environment where even Roberto Di Matteo loses his job six months after winning Chelsea's first Champions League title and lifting the FA Cup, Rodgers knows patience is a rare commodity in football.

But after a number of early-season setbacks the Reds boss thinks the club is beginning to show signs of recovery and will continue to grow in line with his long-term plan.

"If you believe in a manager and put him in place and give him time, what has been proven in this country is that can lead to success," he said. "I think those early months were always going to be difficult: you are trying to instil and implement ideas initially without a great deal of success.

"As a manager, in order to fulfil what you want to over the longer term you have to take care of the short term – that was something I learned in my job at Reading.

"I was given a three-year contract and took the job in the great belief I was brought in to change the philosophy and ideas of the club – and 20 games later I was out of a job. That was the harsh reality of managing a football club and from that I learned a lesson."

Liverpool seem to have turned a corner in the last couple of weeks: they are unbeaten in seven league matches.

Despite defeat in Moscow a fortnight ago the Reds can qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League should Udinese fail to beat Anzhi in Russia tomorrow and the Merseysiders defeat Young Boys.

Rodgers feels his side are over their teething troubles in adjusting to a new way of working, although he accepts they are far from the finished article.

But he expects them to challenge on the domestic as well as European front, especially once he has been able to bring in new players in January.

"I believe we are starting to show improvement and there is a real spirit and unity among us all. If we can stay like that and go through the pain together we can get out the other side and restore Liverpool to where it should be."

Liverpool v Young Boys

Live, Setanta Sports 1, 8.05

Irish Independent

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