Football clubs are often associated with playing in a particular way – ‘the West Ham way’ or ‘the Spurs way’ to name just a couple – but this is rarely the case.
Sides that experience consistent success will generally be associated with playing a certain way due to it bringing them said success, but clubs that are not in this position will arguably change the way they play with each new manager.
Many Liverpool fans expect the team to go about its business with a certain style, which has a lot to do with the successes experienced in the 70s and 80s.
Even when times were hard following Rafa Benitez’s departure and the uncertainty borne out of the issue of club ownership, the Anfield faithful did not take well to Roy Hodgson’s brand of pragmatism that was designed to steady the ship.
Granted, Hodgson’s tactics did not work very well, but the negativity that came with the announcement of his hiring was never going to give any leeway.
Kenny Dalglish came and improved the spirit around the club, but results did not change a great deal, which meant Liverpool’s new owners chose a different direction and Brendan Rodgers of Swansea City.
Rather than pressurising a manager into playing a certain style associated with the club, Fenway Sports Group (FSG) made the decision to import a man who had successfully deployed the kind of football they wanted elsewhere.
Rodgers is admired for his Swans side’s stubborn persistence with the short passing game that appears more at home on the continent and doing so on a very limited budget.
It now appears he has been charged with doing the same on Merseyside, though his budget restrictions are not going to be anything like as tight.
Inexperience was also seen as something that may work against the Northern Irishman; a number of commenters believed Liverpool a club with too large a reputation and level of expectation for manager with such little top flight experience.
However, reports of the Reds’ pre-season preparations suggest Rodgers is not being cowed by the enormity of the task that lies in front of him and is going about things with the same single-mindedness that saw him do so well with Swansea.
An initial sign of this was his openness over the prospect of sending £35million striker Andy Carroll out on loan when questioned if he would fit into Rodgers' style of play.
Many managers would feel pressure to use a player who had cost the club so much, but Rodgers is seemingly unwilling to crowbar an unsuitable player into the system he believes he will have success with.
Carroll has been linked with a move to AC Milan, which could benefit all parties involved.
Serie A has a tradition for tall, physical forwards in the style of Carroll, while the more technically reliant style of play in Italy could help the England international improve his game.
Rodgers benefits by not having the £35million man around to be a topic of discussion for the media, while being able to find a more suitable replacement to fulfil his vision of success during a time when poor results will not be tolerated.
It is no surprise he is open to the deal after hearing his comments on the possible benefits of loan agreements.
The 39-year-old has been quite open in his interviews thus far, which is a long way from the stubborn denial and atmosphere of entrenchment prevalent under Dalglish.
Almost simultaneously, AS Roma confirmed that Liverpool were very interested in signing Italy international striker Fabio Borini – a stark contrast in style compared to Carroll.
Rodgers worked with Borini while he was still with Chelsea, taking him to Swansea on loan, and the few months they had together obviously left a mark.
The 21-year-old was deemed not good enough for Chelsea, but has subsequently enjoyed a successful time in Italy’s capital and earned a call-up to the Italy squad for Euro 2012.
Another positive sign was Jonjo Shelvey signing a new deal with the club – the former Charlton Athletic starlet is a talented young footballer and is of the type that can be developed into an integral part of the team in the future.
Rodgers’ apparent decisiveness in his personnel can only be a good thing, as it indicates a conviction over the direction in which the club is going.
Clarity of vision gives rise to togetherness in a squad, which was one of the positives that stood out with Rodgers’ Swansea side.
Liverpool have had to downgrade their expectations in the past couple of years, but Rodgers looks as though he is acting shrewdly in the quest to restore one of England’s greatest clubs.
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