Liverpool News: Why Fans Should Have Faith In Brendan Rodgers

   on June 09 2012 11:33 AM

After a few weeks of guessing games and Internet rumors, the guessing game is over and former Swansea City manager, Brendan Rodgers has been named to the same position for Liverpool. Now it is time to 'get down to work.'

Rodgers will now take up the challenge of shaping once perennial league champions into worthy contenders.  The Liverpool players, those already at the club, and those certain to arrive over the close season will return to discover a training regime that will be more rigorous than before.

Rodgers has said in the past that when 'when you don't have the ball, you have to work very, very hard to get it back.'

As football lessons go, this is an obvious statement.  Anyone who has ever kicked a ball understands that the game is far easier when you have the ball than when you do not.  But it is equally analogous to where Liverpool finds itself today.

When the club was at the top, 'collecting cups in May', as the Liverpool anthem goes, the hard work came a little easier.  The club would add a couple of players during the close season, strengthen in key areas and stay ahead of the opposition.  This is much easier than chasing a league title than after finishing in eighth place the previous season.

Given that this is his starting point, Rodgers has quite a job on his hands, and while the fans reflect on the choice of Manager with a growing sense of optimism, it must be remembered that the hard work for supporters starts here too.  Many fans peppered Internet forums with calls for a return to the traditional - the name of Rafa Benitez was posted with renewed vigor, others called for even more glamour in Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourhino.  Some even went for 'perceived glamour' in the names of Athletico Madrid Manager Quique Flores, Bilboa Coach Marcelo Biesla and Dortmund mastermind Jurgen Klopp.

Take away the fanciful (Guardiola and Mourhino) and look at the rest of the names on that list.  Only one of those managers knows what it is like to lead a club in the Premier League, only one has successfully led a club to the final stages of the Champions League, and won it. 

The only problem is that name, Rafa Benitez, did not seem to fit with the owner's grand plan for the club.  If results go wrong next season, the growing number of fans who were seeking a return to the 'Rafalution' will feel justified in again asking why the Spaniard was not considered this time round.

But those fans have some hard work ahead.  If things are looking bleak in the early stages of the new season, as players get used to a new system, it is time to support, not time to demonstrate. If Rodgers shows signs of the inevitable pressure, it is time to prop him up, not push him down. 

There is a famous saying in business and in life, "if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got."  If Rafa had been considered in this recruitment round, perhaps that phrase was in the minds of the club's owners. 

After the gamble with Kenny Dalglish, the temptation to go back to the past once more, was something that did not linger long in the thoughts of those in Boston that are charged with plotting the club's immediate future.  They wanted new thinking, change, unconventional wisdom and a desire to stop doing "what we have always done."  They and Liverpool have made a statement that it is time to look to the future.

Twenty years without a league title is a long time for a club that, one of the most supported clubs in the world.  For this reason alone, the owners might just have considered that it was time to try something new, time do something different.  Rafa would have been just as much of a gamble as Rodgers was. 

Some claim he has no experience at this level, he has never managed a 'big club' and that he has never won a title.  However, history is littered with managers who, at one point, had never won any titles.

It is time for Liverpool fans to look beyond the immediate statistics and consider instead the immediate past.  Swansea, with a team that cost a fraction of half the Liverpool squad, took four points off Liverpool last season. 

They did not achieve this by 'parking the bus' in front of goal and snatching a lucky win.  They earned this by playing football, by passing and moving, and by embracing hard work-characteristics that were a cornerstone of all the previous title winning Liverpool teams.

When Swansea earned a draw at Anfield last season, Liverpool fans applauded them off the pitch.  This is one tradition that has not left Anfield and it was in respect to the way Swansea went about their work that day.  It was a performance orchestrated by the man now in charge at Liverpool and one that earned the unequivocal respect of Liverpool fans.

As Liverpool struggled against a Swansea side lauded by all in the game for 'playing like Barcelona' Liverpool fans openly wished for a coach who had the ability to get their team to play to their potential?  Did the fans not want certain players to play with renewed freedom and shake off the shackles of history that weighed heavy around their ankles?  Did they not wish that the team could find match winners other than Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez?

Who are the match winners at Swansea?  The answer is the whole team. 

Who do the Swansea players pass to every time they attack?  They pass to each other, not one individual. 

Who do the Swansea players look to when their backs are against the wall in a game?  They look to the whole team. 

This is not because they lack stand out players, but because of Rodgers' philosophy that instills a belief that they win, draw or lose as a team.  The team, and the way that they play, is more important than any single individual.

This was another basic tenet of the successful Liverpool teams, packed with greats, but made greater by the team as a whole.  It was why, when players left Liverpool, they were rarely as successful at their new clubs.  It was also why Liverpool were successful against much more glamorous sides, managed by much more glamorous continental coaches. 

Liverpool seemed to have something different about them, some great secret.  That secret was hard work and it's just about to begin again.