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The Laws of Attraction

Brendan Rodgers is insisting that Anfield, with the added allure of cosmopolitan visitors this season, is now a most desirable destination for Europe's footballing elite. As ever, the amiable Liverpool boss is inclined towards a more optimistic perception of the world than some.

"Easy now, Jose, okay?" - Brendan's 'disappearing' notepad trick was always enough to calm Enrique when he got excitable...
"Easy now, Jose, okay?" - Brendan's 'disappearing' notepad trick was always enough to calm Enrique when he got excitable...
Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The way in which different folk perceive the world around them is a perpetual source of intrigue to this scribbler. My version of reality will differ from yours which will, in turn, vary from that of the portly old gent perched next to you on the train. People tend to see things through their own unique filter but surely there are some irrefutable, inescapable truths about the nature of existence that we cannot simply interpret as we choose? Aren't there certain apodictic actualities that are universally experienced? Don't we all endure particular unpalatable ordeals which are inexorable, like the damage wrought by the transcience of time?

Brendan Rodgers and I, for example, recently turned 41 and no matter how hard we both may train our bodies in the vainglorious hope of retaining some semblance of presentability upon our aging husks of humanity, the stark fact will remain that we were both nippers during the brown-tinged drabness of 'Seventies Ireland. This is not open to interpretation. This is grim veracity. The Liverpool manager, however, is one of those relentlessly positive types who has an enviable knack of seeing the best in everything. No doubt to him the creeping advancement of decrepitude would be viewed simply a wonderful opportunity to gain wisdom or a beautiful chance to enjoy life differently. It's all about perception, you see.

With the new season just days away, Liverpool Football Club stands poised to make another glorious step forward into a silver-tinged future or to, y'know, disappear again into the thick oppressive fug of hopeless underachievement. These, at least, are the only two options one would believe were available to the Redmen based on the bipolar raging of the club's passionate supporters. Thankfully, in either vision of the time to come, Richard Scudamore can rest, contented by the lack of Luis Suárez polluting his puritanical vista.

Some Liverpool fans view the post-Suárez hereafter as though it were a zombie apocalypse with the Uruguayan having legged-it in possession of the only functioning power tool. Others, less sepulchral in their world-view, see his absence as a chance for the enigmatic likes of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge to further develop their already formidable talents by assuming the mantle of the departed forward. No need to ask which path Brendan Rodgers is already gamely jogging down.

The question of summer recruitment has been most vexatious thus far and the low rumble of the malcontents will build to a persistent whine as deadline day approaches. Make no mistake, even the signing of Lionel Messi would have certain elements in the fickle Red fan base moaning about something. Logic need not apply to be part of this annual frenzy of screeching contretemps masquerading as debate. It taps into people's deepest fears, insecurities and dreams and what's worse, it causes them to break bonds with treasured idols and form uneasy new attachments to unknown quantities. The more highly strung, who seem often to be the most vocal across various fora, are a hot mess of uncertainty, indignance and impotent rage, right about now, bless them.

Meanwhile, a picture of benign serenity, Brendan Rodgers ponders the campaign to come, delightfully deaf to the swirl of squabbling over his dealings in the transfer market to date. The latest addition, the promising Alonso/Gerrard fusion that is Alberto Moreno, has met with an unusual universal approval as did the earlier purchase of the absurdly handsome Emre Can, but the reactions to Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi, Javier Manquillo and Dejan Lovren have been more of a mixed bag. Gripes have included angsty moans about suitability, talent and value for money but by far the biggest source of whining has been the lack of a superstar signing. Losing out on Alexis Sanchez sent some fans into a spiral of gloom whose wild oscillations have only increased with the subsequent failed pursuits of Marco Reus ans Edinson Cavani.

The manager, content that he is securing the players that he wants for the most part, is more eager to focus on those who have committed to the club. For him, the return of Liverpool to Europe's top table combined with the ever-developing attacking football he is inculcating, have made Anfield a place that holds a great attraction for the world's best footballers. Characteristically and admirably, Rodgers' emphasis is on the fact that the club has elevated its status immensely in a short space of time and he argues, not unreasonably, that tremendous progress has been made and is ongoing.

"The ability to attract top players is great," the Antrim man insisted. "It's a huge indication of the progress of the club -- a really good symbol of where club is at. We have made huge strides in the last couple of years. That ability to attract top players is great. Lovren was a really good player for Lyon and Southampton. He was a guy sought after by a number of clubs but for him to say he only wanted to come to Liverpool was great. Young Markovic had two or three other clubs there waiting to take him, clubs where he had mates from his international team. But he wanted to come to Liverpool. These guys watch football throughout Europe. They watch us and want to be part of what we're doing.

"It's the growth," he continued. "It hasn't just happened by accident, a lot of work and time has gone in both on and off the field. The most important thing is to have an identity. There is real excitement around the club. If you're a football player in Europe watching how we played last season and saw our supporters, your reaction would be that you'd want to play in that environment. It's the most competitive league in the world and one of the biggest clubs in the world. It's a team that plays exciting football. I'm happy with players we have got in, and if we can get one or two more then we'll be set up for an exciting season."

We have long since established, dear reader, that despite a natural proclivity for grouchiness and cynicism, your scribbler has been well and truly won over by the infectious ebullience and undeniable talent of Brendan Rodgers. He is exactly what this august footballing institution required at this juncture -- faults, learning curve and all. Even the most obdurate of old-timers knew that Liverpool Football Club needed to grow again -- to be renewed, refreshed and imbued once more with modern innovative impetus.

This is a club on the cusp, driven by a group of remarkable players and guided by a manager who seems, despite the carping of some, to be capable of steering them to consistent success. These are intoxicatingly stirring times to follow the Redmen. Turn a deaf ear, for now at least,  the saturnine doom-mongers and let yourself revel in heedless optimism, for if we can't embrace delirious buoyant positivity four days before a new campaign, we never will.

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