Saturday 25 November 2017

Rodgers wants to manage Liverpool for the 'next 20 years'

Brendan Rodgers has vowed to fight to save his job
Brendan Rodgers has vowed to fight to save his job

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has vowed that he will never quit Anfield as he plots his survival after a torrid spell.

Far from being defeatist after another challenging week, Rodgers offered a pragmatic but assured assessment of his plight on Merseyside. He acknowledged results and performances put him at risk of being fired, but he vowed to fight on to save his job.

Asked if he would consider walking away, Rodgers was emphatic. "No, no, no, no. No chance - no," he said.

"I am never going to walk away because I always have belief that I can improve players and people and make things better.

"My target as a manager is to get to 1,000 games and I know that over the course of that you are looking at the next 20-odd years.

"But I am realistic. I have realism in my life and in my professional life to know that I might have another five or six jobs in order to do that, but I would love it to be here.

"Sixteen months ago we nearly won the league, I was Manager of the Year and 16 months later you are not so good at your job when you are actually better at your job.

"I have shown what I can do when I have the tools to work; what I can deliver. I don't lose confidence in that.

"What I will always do is give the best to the club and if they decide they need to change, I totally respect that.


"This is an incredible football club. All I want to do is see success and if that [success] wasn't for me that would be for other people to decide.

"I would say that I should be here and be the one who sees it through, but that is ultimately not my decision."

Rodgers knows a large section of Liverpool's support want the club to appoint Carlo Ancelotti or Jurgen Klopp, but he believes he can get many of them back on his side.

"You do that by winning games and performing," he said.

"Of course we need to improve the level of performance and I understand that and that responsibility comes with the manager.

"In terms of names, when you are a manager of a club of this size there is always going to be speculation around your job and when you don't win that will intensify.

"Since I have been here, I think there have been 10 managers linked with job and that is part of the game.

"I have regular contact with the owners and the relationship is always strong.

"Whether I am here for one day more or one month or whatever I will always have respect for the people here, the owners and Ian Ayre.

"I walked in as a 39-year-old manager and as I sit here I am a much better manager, but I understand I must get results."

The Liverpool manager believes his difficulties have been exacerbated after losing world-class players, while trying to integrate multiple signings.

"In the couple of years when we had the availability of top-class players, I proved I can build a team that plays a way of football that excites and challenges at the top end of this table," said Rodgers.

"We lost those players but new players have come in and they have an opportunity to show they can do similar.

"There has been a lot of change and we have lost some big, big players here in terms of character and quality but that is the nature of how it is here."

His future will ultimately be determined by three senior figures from Fenway Sports Group - John W Henry, the principal owner; Mike Gordon, the president; and Tom Werner, the chairman.

Although Gordon does not possess the same percentage of shares in the company as Henry, his say is the most significant as Henry's attentions have been consumed by the 'Boston Globe' newspaper - an acquisition that has opened doors at the top of American society. Gordon's word was crucial in saving Rodgers in the summer and he is FSG's man on the ground in Merseyside, though at the moment, he is also to be found a lot in Massachusetts where the Boston Red Sox baseball team, FSG's primary asset, are in the midst of a slump.

Earlier this month, the Red Sox missed out on the play-offs, marking the fourth Major League Baseball campaign in the last five where they have not qualified - despite winning the World Series in the one year they did.

Liverpool's recent history is similar. They have qualified only once for the Champions League in the last five years and, under Rodgers, went close to winning the league in the season that was achieved.

The parallels suggest there is something FSG is not quite getting right.

Rodgers is at a point where he needs to win convincingly to regain the hearts and minds of fans.

Scruffy victories like those over Stoke and Bournemouth are not enough now.

Today, Liverpool face Aston Villa at Anfield - a tie Rodgers has not won since his appointment in 2012.

His reign was also undermined by losing to Tim Sherwood's side in April's FA Cup semi-final, so this is surely a game he cannot afford to lose.

Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren have joined Jordan Henderson on the absentee list. Daniel Sturridge, at least, is fit again.


Meanwhile, Villa manager Tim Sherwood claimed that Rodgers would have been a contender for the Real Madrid job last year when Liverpool were title contenders.

"After that season they finished second, we might have seen him at Real Madrid," said Sherwood.

"He would have won the Premier League for the first time in God knows how many years and would have been the hottest property in football. He doesn't turn into a bad manager all of a sudden."

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport