It can't be easy for the manager of Liverpool Football Club to field the same, eye-glazingly predictable questions, no matter where he goes. As he returned to his homeland to promote the prestigious youth tournament, the Milk Cup, he was faced with the usual array of vague and open-ended queries, which he fielded, as is his wont, without a hint of impoliteness.
Rodgers was in a thoughtful frame of mind, as he assessed his career thus far, and revealed himself to be a confident man, with a pleasing line in humility. Being manager of Liverpool Football Club is clearly a genuine privilege and thrill for the Northern Irishman and a responsibility he takes tremendously seriously.
In a reassuringly pragmatic fashion, which was in stark contrast with the often belligerent defensiveness of his predecessor, Rodgers spoke about the necessity of simply moving on from the Luis Suarez mess and choosing, for now, to "concentrate on the future and the players that are able to play." The 40 year old claimed that he hoped dealing with the experience would make him "a better manager."
Suarez, said Rodgers, is "a remarkable player" and a "fantastic talent" but he insisted, that at Liverpool, everything is based on the team -- an unusually quaint word-choice from a man who normally prefers more all-inclusive terms like group or, more recently, collective. Indeed, he was quick to point out that Liverpool's record sans Suarez is impressive.
"People talk about not being able to score goals without Luis Suarez," said Rodgers, "but we've played two games without Luis in the team and we've scored nine goals -- and both games have been away from home."
The young manager seems to be acutely aware of the enormity of the task ahead of him and, if he had forgotten, the local BBC reporter was happy to point out that he had some particularly gigantic shoes to fill, succeeding, as he did, club legend Kenny Dalglish.
"The service that [Dalglish] has given Liverpool, both as a player and a manager, has been incredible. So, for me, there certainly was no competition -- that's a competition that you lose hands down -- for me it was just to come in and help the club."
To my eyes, at least, there has been a perceptible change in Rodgers' demeanour over recent months. Still enthusiastic, he now betrays the cautious restraint that can only come from bitter experience. Despite the wild rumours of recent days, it seems that the grand plan is for Brendan Rodgers to drive this redevelopment of team, stadium and club. As supporters, we can only bear with the man and hope he is up to the task.
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