Sunday, June 03, 2012

Rodgers Named Reds Boss

Liverpool have confirmed the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, with John W Henry calling for the new manager to be given time at the helm.

Rodgers leaves Swansea to take over at Anfield as the replacement to the sacked Kenny Dalglish following the club legend's departure in May.

The Northern Irishman has built a reputation for exciting attacking football during his time with the Swans as he guided them to promotion via the Championship play-offs before establishing the Liberty Stadium club in the top-flight against the odds.

He inherits a side battling to regain their place in the upper reaches of the Premier League table following last season's miserable eighth-place finish.

The 39-year-old was unveiled at Anfield on Friday morning after emerging as the leading candidate in Liverpool's appointment process, with the club having also spoken to Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.

Rodgers told the club's official website: "I'm blessed to be given this opportunity. I want to thank John Henry, Tom Werner and FSG for the opportunity to manage such a great club.

"I'm really excited and I can't wait to get started on this incredible project going forward.

"I promise to dedicate my life to fight for this club and defend the great principles of Liverpool Football Club on and off the field."

Principle owner Henry of Fenway Sports Group insisted that the new man at the helm needed to be given time to build for the future at Anfield.

"Fenway Sports Group is committed to building for the long-term. Brendan Rodgers' appointment today as manager of Liverpool Football Club is one of the most important steps we will take in building the kind of club on and off the pitch supporters can be excited about," Henry said.

"Brendan's comprehensive football philosophy is perfectly aligned with those at the club and those soon to join the club. He was the first choice unanimously among them and he had no hesitation at all in embracing exactly what we want to try to build at Liverpool.

"We do not expect miracles overnight nor should anyone else. But we firmly believe that the direction the club is heading in will lead to Premier League championships.

"We will embrace the unconventional, build the right way and together set a bold, exciting course for this historic club."

Rodgers To Relieve Pressure

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers claims he wants to take the pressure off his players and heap it on the Anfield opposition.

Rodgers was appointed as Kenny Dalglish's replacement on Friday and is tasked with making Anfield an intimidating venue again next season.

Liverpool endured a difficult campaign in front of their own fans, winning just six of their 19 home league games in 2011-12.

It has proven a challenge for the likes of Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll who have been saddled with the pressure of huge transfer fees.

But Rodgers has offered Carroll his support and revealed his intention to relieve the weight of expectation on everyone at the club.

The 39-year-old said: "He came here for an awful lot of money and he's still very young, but I don't think anyone would have argued, when he did terrifically well at Newcastle.

"But when you come to a club like this the shirt weighs much heavier than any other. The expectation - and the weight of expectation - is phenomenal.

"My job next year is to try to lift some of that weight off the shirt. I'll take the pressure.

"The players can just focus on performing and if you do that you will get the result eight or nine times out of 10 because of talent.

"That will be the same for Andy and any other player. Then we'll take time to review where we're at and look forward."

Rodgers knows what an intimidating place Anfield can be having had mixed fortunes there with visiting teams in the past.

His Swansea side secured a goalless draw at Liverpool in November, while he was also a part of the Chelsea backroom staff when the Reds beat them there in a UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2005.

"I want to use the incredible support to make coming to Anfield the longest 90 minutes of an opponent's life," said Rodgers.

"I want to see great attacking football with creativity and imagination, with relentless pressing of the ball.

"I know what it's like, because I had a team like that at Swansea.

"That was with a terrific little club and a terrific group of players. When people came to Swansea, it was probably the longest 90 minutes of their lives.

"So after 10 minutes, when they haven't had a touch of the ball, they are looking at the clock and seeing only 10 minutes gone. It's a long afternoon."

He added: "The Chelsea players said they had never experienced support like it.

"That was ultimately what won the game and that is what I want to do here.

"When I came as a manager with Swansea, it was a really proud moment. To play well and then get a standing ovation meant a lot. It was a great honour."

Group Work Vital To Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers admits he sought assurances that no director of football would be appointed alongside him before taking the reins at Liverpool.

The Reds officially unveiled their new manager on Friday, with Rodgers having been lured away from Premier League rivals Swansea.

He is the man charged with the task of returning the Merseyside outfit to the top of the domestic game and back into the UEFA Champions League elite.

A successful spell at the Liberty Stadium convinced the Anfield board that he was the right man for the job, with his philosophies matching those of a club steeped in trophy-winning history.

Rodgers has, however, made it clear to the Liverpool hierarchy that he wants to do things his own way - and the Reds have agreed that they will not be looking for a successor to Damien Comolli, who left his role as director of football in April.

"That was one of the issues that I brought up when I was speaking with the club, that I wouldn't work directly with someone in that role," said Rodgers.

"I work best around a group of people. It's about a group of people when you come to a big club, you can't do it on your own.

"Of course there has to be leadership but, for me, if it was a sporting director or director of football, which was something I made quite clear that I couldn't work with.

"What you need at a football club is an outstanding recruitment team, an outstanding medical team, sports science team, player liaison.

"These are all people that will come into the group and then we will form as a football club a technical board, as most clubs do. There will be four or five people around that group who will decide the way forward."

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre claims the club were happy to meet Rodgers' demands.

He said: "The structure really is to - Brendan is aware of this and it was part of that process of finding the person that fits - is a more continental director of football type structure, where you have got a collaborative group of people working around the football area.

"We don't envisage at this point of time having a director of football per se, but having a group of people who will work collaboratively with Brendan to deliver the football side of it."

Rodgers Will Have Time

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner insists that new manager Brendan Rodgers will be given time to bring success back to Anfield.

Rodgers became Liverpool's fourth manager in just two years when he was appointed as Kenny Dalglish's successor on Friday.

That represents a period of unprecedented upheaval for a club that had just eight managers in the previous 50 years.

But Werner is sure Liverpool will not be looking for a new manager again for some time to come.

"We have a great confidence in Brendan," he told the club's official website.

"We don't expect immediate results overnight, we expect steady improvement. He is going to be implementing a new tact for the team.

"It may take a little time to implement that but we are very confident that he will bring us the success that we all are looking for."

Dalglish was sacked last month after a disappointing Premier League campaign despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching the FA Cup final.

And Werner is keen to thank the Liverpool legend for his help in guiding the club through a difficult time on and off the field.

"I want to pay a great debt of thanks to Kenny," he added.

"Kenny is the heart and soul of this club, he provided us with great stability at a time when we needed it and so I want to pay tribute to a man who I consider to be a great football player and a great friend."

Although Werner admits things won't change overnight, he remains highly ambitious.

He added: "When we came in our goal was to be the best team in England, not just the top four, to compete with the best teams in Europe.

"We believe that Brendan's philosophy and his tactics will bring us there.

"We have no set target for when to do that, we've always looked for slow and measured improvement and we believe that we will be more successful going forward, not just this year but in the future."

Ayre - We Got Our Man

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre is adamant the Reds got the manager they wanted in Brendan Rodgers, insisting the ex-Swansea boss was the only candidate they made an offer to.

The club's search for Kenny Dalglish's successor attracted criticism from some quarters for being too wide-ranging, but Ayre was satisfied with how they dealt with filling the vacancy after Rodgers was unveiled on Friday.

The managing director admits many candidates were considered but says the Northern Irishman was always Liverpool's first choice.

He said: "There was a process and it was right to have a process. Brendan was at the forefront of that thinking, evidenced by the fact we asked Swansea very early on.

"He was the only person we made an offer to. We got the person we wanted."

Ayre added: "The process is a private process (but) it's fair to say we considered many people because that's what you should do. You try to understand how any individual fits with the profile."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was another to have held talks with Liverpool before they plumped for Rodgers.

Ayre said: "Roberto was one of the people in that process. We went through that with a lot of people.

"Some people decided to say they were in the process but they weren't. It was all about understanding individuals and matching their skill-sets with the profile.

"Brendan was at the forefront of that and at the outcome of it and that was exactly what we wanted."

Before Swansea, 39-year-old Rodgers managed at Watford and Reading, while he also spent time as Chelsea's youth team coach after being appointed by former boss Jose Mourinho.

Ayre feels his experience could be key, adding on Liverpool's official website: "When you meet Brendan you can't help but be inspired by his knowledge, passion and vision for the game.

"The experience he has for such a young age shows we are getting someone at the very top of their profession.

"He and our owners both have a clear plan of how to bring success on the pitch and he will have the full support of everyone at Liverpool Football Club while he strives to achieve that."

Werner - Rodgers Is Perfect Fit

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has branded new manager Brendan Rodgers the 'perfect person' to take the club forward.

The Reds officially unveiled Rodgers as Kenny Dalglish's successor on Friday morning after securing the manager from Swansea.

The Northern Irish boss impressed while at the helm of the Swans; guiding them into the Premier League and earning plaudits for establishing a brand of attractive attacking football.

Werner believes Rodgers' achievements with the Welsh club, as well as his time spent abroad studying coaching at clubs such as Barcelona, makes him the ideal man to take over as the Reds look to re-establish themselves as a dominant force in the top-flight.

The American chairman said: "In Brendan we have acquired a very exciting and talented and young manager.

"He's a forward-thinking coach at the forefront of a generation of young managers and will bring to Liverpool attacking, relentless football."

He added on Liverpool's official website: "The style of football Brendan is associated with is exactly what we want to see at Anfield.

"Aggressive, attacking play; Swansea were a revelation last season with their brand of entertaining football.

"But it's not just what he has achieved in the last two years that has impressed us; he has dedicated his career to coaching, has studied the game all over Europe and he is the perfect person to take this club forward."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was previously thought to a frontrunner for the Reds job and Latics chairman Dave Whelan claimed earlier this week it was the Spaniard, not Rodgers, who was originally Liverpool's first choice.

However, Rodgers has insisted he was always their preferred target and Werner has reinforced his claim.

The chairman added: "We did speak to a number of people in the last few weeks, but I want to say Brendan was the only person we made an offer to. He was our first choice and the right choice."

Rodgers Keen On Loan Stars

Brendan Rodgers has indicated he will speak to Liverpool's forgotten stars Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani before deciding on their future.

Rodgers was appointed as the Reds' new manager on Friday and is already running the rule over the talent at his disposal at Anfield.

Cole spent the season on loan at French club Lille, while Aquilani returned to his native Italy with AC Milan.

Both men have two years remaining on their contracts with Liverpool and Rodgers has suggested he is an admirer of their abilities.

"They're certainly talented players," he told the club's official website.

"I know Joe well from my time at Chelsea (as part of the backroom staff). He's a wonderful talent."

Even if Rodgers would like to reintroduce the players to the squad, he accepts that could be a problem if the footballer in question does not want to be there.

"The boy Aquilani is a wonderful talent and a terrific player but he might not be able to settle," he added.

"He might not be able to adapt to the country so you've got all those issues and sometimes you're not aware of that until you sit down and speak to the people."

Swansea Set Reds 12-Month Embargo

Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins has revealed an agreement is in place to stop newly-appointed Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers signing players from his former club for 12 months.

“We have got some protection on Brendan coming back for our players in the initial period, which I think is the right thing,” Jenkins told Talksport. “He has got a timescale to assess things there and that is going to take him a while, so I’ve no worries there.”

Jenkins admitted disappointment at losing Rodgers, who guided the Swans to the Premier League and then to 11th in the top flight last term. “We are obviously very, very disappointed that we lost Brendan but things move on,” he said. “When we had Brendan working with us we wanted him for some years to come, but everyone has ambition and sometimes that ambition has to be realized.”

Juan Manuel Vargas In Dirk Kuyt Swap Deal

Dirk Kuyt's imminent exit from Liverpool could be as part of a swap deal with Fiorentina for Juan Manuel Vargas.

The Serie A club is determined to land Kuyt during the summer transfer window, but face strong competition from Hamburg for his signature.

A clause in the Dutchman's contract means he can leave Anfield for just £1million, but Fiorentina apparently have another idea in mind.

Reports in the Italian press claimed they are willing to take Kuyt as part-payment for the £12million-rated Vargas.

The Peruvian wing-back has been on the Reds' radar for the past year, but the departures of Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish mean it is not clear whether he remains a target.

Fiorentina seemingly now plan to find out whether new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is interested in the 28-year-old by proposing a swap deal.

Vargas was watched by Arsenal and Manchester United ahead of the January transfer window, but neither club followed up their interest with a bid after discovering the asking price.