Since being let go as Liverpool boss, Brendan Rodgers found himself linked with the Sunderland job, rumoured to become interim manager at Chelsea, offered punditry jobs in the Middle East, and even toyed with a move to the Chinese Super League.
So far, none of those whispered possibilities has amounted to anything, and Rodgers remains happy to watch from the sidelines following a sometimes thrilling, sometimes bruising few years at Anfield. He’s also shown a surprising willingness to talk about his time at Liverpool, and did so again this week.
"They have a very good manager in Jurgen Klopp in place," Rodgers told the Belfast Telegraph when asked about Liverpool’s play since he left. "It’s going to take time to bed in his methods and how he wants to work. He has some very good players there. The expectancy, of course, is to win the league.
"We went very close in my time and obviously Jurgen will go in and feel that he can improve on that and that’s why the owners made the change. They felt they wanted to improve and to improve on runners-up would be to win the league, but it’s going to take time. I’m sure the owners will give him that time."
It’s a statement that can be read as either prosaic or boastful, depending on how one comes at it. Rodgers did take Liverpool to second one year, and to better that Klopp would have to win the league. That much is true, yet for many it will seem to focus too much on a nearly run and to ignore everything else.
Outside Liverpool’s title challenge, Liverpool were a frustrating side under Rodgers. Promising but stuck in mid-table in year one and a dysfunctional mess in year three—and a dysfunctional mess that despite the full backing of the owners over the summer he seemed no closer to solving at the start of year four.
Rodgers deserves credit for his role in 2013-14’s title challenge, but to paint it as though that’s the manager Fenway Sports Group chose to replace with Jürgen Klopp seems misguided at best. Though in fairness to Rodgers, he’s hardly alone amongst managers who are blessed with an exceptional self-belief.
"It will be tight," he added of Liverpool’s chances against Manchester United in the Europa League this week. "Liverpool are coming off the back of good results so they will go into Thursday with confidence. United will feel, having done the double over Liverpool, that they also have a good chance. It will be tight."