Rodgers fortjener ros:
Sayings that most annoyed listeners elicit a different reaction now that Rodgers’ managerial principles manifest themselves fully in players pushing for significant honours. When Rodgers remarked that he “started coaching for one reason and that was to make a difference for people, not just as footballers but as human beings’’ there were a few gasps.
It sounded rather grandiose from a coach whose main achievement had been only a promotion with Swansea City. Now it makes sense, capturing Rodgers’ ability to mould characters as well as players. He has turned Suárez from a toxic asset into a valued commodity respected even by rival fans.
When Rodgers observed that “we play with 11 men while other teams play with 10 men and a goalkeeper” it sounded arrogant. Now those words encapsulate his footballing philosophy, a way of playing in keeping with Liverpool’s pass-and-move tradition, and bringing the best out of Suárez.
Still those early maxims of Rodgers need revisiting. Bemusement followed his pronouncement that “the problem with being a manager is it’s like trying to build an aircraft while it’s flying’’. Now that Rodgers’ ideas are becoming reality on the pitch such statements will soon be staples in coach-education departments.
Rodgers is different. He is no Big Sam. He quotes Latin proverbs to his players. Addressing the media, Rodger is one of the most tactile managers I have met. He has always been quotable but now people appreciate the content properly. Discussing how he likes to train players, Rodgers once said: “You train dogs. I like to educate players.” Cue some hilarity. But he does educate players. Ask Henderson.
Men sesongen er lang og selv om han hylles nå, kan fortsatt sesongen bli en fiasko. Og da kommer de vanlige debattantene fram med knivene igjen.