Football remains a simple game, according to Brendan Rodgers.
By Kevin Morley.
Last season Liverpool suffered from one major problem - they could not put the ball in the net. If you do not score goals, you do not win games. It matters not, how great your play has been, how much possession you have had, or how silky your football was. No, the only thing that matters is that you scored more goals than the opposition. Do this, and you get the points, deserved or not.
The fans could see the problem last season. The ex-players could see the problem. Even the media pundits could see the problem - Liverpool just could not score the goals that their build up play had deserved. There is one other person who saw the problem - Brendan Rodgers. So, this week he went about taking strides to solve it and bought a forward who scores goals. Not just a forward who scores goals, but a young forward who scores goals, and one with a resale value higher than what the club paid for him. This is good business sense, good football sense and, more than anything else, plain and simple common sense.
Nobody can guarantee success, but you can buy failure. Listen to some of the fans and you would think Liverpool had just bought Ronny Rosenthal (at the age he is now). The club have identified the problem and the manager has gone about solving it, perhaps football is not so complicated after all.
A stark reminder to the fans is the man currently wearing the Liverpool number 9 shirt. This week has seen unprecedented coverage for Andy Carroll. He has had more back pages than when he first signed. The fact that the media are so convinced he is leaving is testament to his lack of perceived success during his eighteen months at Anfield. To those fans who claim that new signing Fabio Borini is too cheap and that this a sign of things to come, perhaps they need to remember that £35 million does not guarantee success any more than £8 million does sometimes.
And so to Andy Carroll, a man who is fast becoming an enigma. Is he another Stan Collymore? One of those players who Liverpool fans will recount in years to come as having not used the talent at his disposal. Or, does Brendan Rodgers have another plan in mind?
If you believe the media, Andy Carroll is only heading backwards....Newcastle? West Ham? Fulham? England's number nine playing for one of these clubs? Are the media really sure? Any sane Liverpool fan is taking the current speculation with a truck load of salt. After all, it is media black arts at its best.
In his press conference, Brendan Rodgers was asked if he would be letting Andy Carroll go on loan for the season. The new Liverpool boss did not lie, he did not try to trick the press, he gave an honest answer. This answer was not along the lines of 'we want to get rid of Andy Carroll and he can go tomorrow', although given the press coverage you would be forgiven for thinking Brendan had said this. No, the manager gave an honest answer and said that loans can work for any player and he would not become a hostage to fortune by saying no and then back tracking. Even further, Brendan said that he thought Andy Carroll was a great player and had spoken to him so he knew where he stood - hardly placing him on the transfer list?
So, another example of the new Liverpool boss keeping things simple. He did not try to play the media and did not attempt to deflect the question, he played it straight. This is something Liverpool fans need to recognize, it is yet another example of the character of the man who is now at the helm of our beloved club. It is also something, after six years where Rafa Benitez baffled the media with possession figures and in-game statistics and King Kenny bemoaned the woodwork and suggested they increase the size of the goals, Liverpool fans, and the media, are going to have to get used to.
We have learned in the past ten days that Brendan Rodgers is a straight talker and sees football as a simple game. This may be very different to what modern day Liverpool fans are used to, but it is bread and butter to those who remember the truly great Liverpool managers.
In Rafa the fans trusted, in Kenny the fans believed, keep it simple and, in Brendan, the club might just achieve.