Brendan Rodgers' last trip to Boston came as part of his first pre-season as Liverpool manager, and a lot has changed since Liverpool took on Roma at Fenway Park in 2012. For fans, the focus is likely on the football. For Rodgers, though, the biggest change might be that he's lost a bit of weight since then.
"Well it’s great because I remember being sat here a couple years ago, I was two stone heavier," Rodgers joked with the media in Boston on Tuesday. "Maybe all the stress has knocked the weight off me, but no, it was the start of a journey that has been incredible really."
The years since that fateful summer, one that saw Fabio Borini flying in to join the team after spending time with Italy at the Euros and Joe Allen being dubbed the Welsh Xavi, have seen Liverpool rise from seventh to second and become the Premier League's great entertainers for their goals scored—and the goals they allow. This year's trip, then, offers Rodgers and the players who were with him two years ago the chance to reflect on everything that has changed.
"There is a real sense of nostalgia coming back," said Rodgers. "I’ve obviously been back here since, to Boston, but coming back here with the team allows us to sit and reflect on the two years we’ve had and the progress that has been made, because I’m sure two years ago some of the guys sat in here, they know me well now, but they didn’t know me so well then.
"They were probably questioning what was maybe happening, or they were going to anticipate maybe a tough period, but certainly the couple of years we’ve had have been great. But I’m not going to rest on it because we’ve made great progress but there is still a lot of work for us to do and a lot of progress to be made."
Rodgers, now 41 and with beautiful pearly white teeth, has come a long way since he said he would turn Liverpool into a side that could beat opponents with possession football and passing. He's also adapted, making his Liverpool side one that others fear. He's changed his philosophy to help players like Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho excel at multiple positions. And though he admits the title challenge and all the goals and the Champions League have come a bit sooner than expected, he's hoping to keep the club moving forward.
"We’ve arrived maybe earlier than I anticipated," he said, "but that shows you the development of the club as a whole, and it shows you the development of the players. So for me, on a personal note, I am proud and privileged to manage the club. I extended my deal in the summer because I really see Liverpool as a destination for many years to come.
"I also know there are a lot of really exciting times ahead for the club with the stadium expansion and the young players on our team who are only going to get better. So we want to sustain this level of competition, to be up there competing for the best prizes, and that will hopefully roll out into the Champions League now."