RODGERS COULD BE RIGHT FOR REDS
Liverpool fans may lack the belief that Brendan Rodgers can restore the Anfield club to past glories, but belief is something the man set to become their new manager has in abundance.
A quick look at Rodgers' CV may not suggest a man with the calibre to take over at one of English football's biggest clubs, but a closer analysis reveals the potential that Fenway Sports Group (FSG) are prepared to back.
Having been forced to retire from playing at the age of just 20 Rodgers threw himself into a quest to devour as much coaching knowledge as possible, at one point travelling around Spain to observe the continental game at close quarters.
His work with the academy at Reading won him plenty of admirers, none more so than Jose Mourinho. Indeed, 'the Special One' was so impressed with Rodgers' that he headhunted him to take over as youth-team coach at Chelsea in 2004, promoting him to reserve-team boss in 2006.
Rodgers flourished when he took over at Watford late in 2008, guiding the Vicarage Road club away from the perils of a Championship relegation battle to a 13th-place finish.
But then came the only mis-step to date of his managerial career, as a move to Reading, which he has since cited as a case of trying to run before he could walk, ended in his exit after just six months.
Rodgers soon discovered the harsh realities of the world of footballing management, finding himself unable to get interviews for roles with lower league clubs.
But he got the chance to resurrect his career when Swansea sought a replacement for Paolo Sousa in the summer of 2010.
It proved a perfect marriage as Rodgers developed the club's attractive passing style to good effect, resulting in their dramatic play-off success over Reading and promotion to the Premier League.
Many expected a swift return to the second tier but Rodgers and Swansea, having spent just £6.5million on transfers, confounded expectations as sides struggled to handle being starved of possession by the top-flight upstarts.
Arsenal and Manchester City were memorably defeated at the Liberty Stadium on the way to an 11th-place finish.
And a final-day win over Liverpool paved the way for Rodgers' move to Anfield as opposite number Kenny Dalglish was quickly removed from his position.
Granted, that list of achievements does not compare to those of Fabio Capello or Jurgen Klopp, but Rodgers has complete confidence in his own abilities.
The 39-year-old has made no secret of his desire to manage at the game's top level, to experience Champions League football and take charge of a big club.
When some have questioned whether he would be able to handle a dressing room of star names he has consistently cited his spell with Chelsea, where he worked with the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba, as proof of his ability to do so.
He has a deep knowledge and respect for Spanish football, and is quick to espouse his love of the technical side of the game, occasionally describing Swansea's style as a "crusade" to show that British players do not lack skill compared to their continental counterparts.
Liverpool fans can be assured that they will be entertained next term.
To his credit Rodgers has always voiced his gratitude to Swansea for having faith in him when few others were prepared to take a chance.
However, the lure of Liverpool is strong.
The clause in his contract which guarantees the club a handsome compensation package should he leave is a sign of his desire to reward them for that faith.
Many Swans fans may feel betrayed by the potential exit of their manager, particularly after Rodgers' rebuffed an initial approach from Anfield, but the man himself will be aware that this is a job that may not come around for him again.
While at Swansea his stock could scarcely have been higher.
The timing is right and, while there will be doubters, Rodgers will see this as his perfect stage.
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