Scott Groom explains how Brendan Rodgers can replicate his success at Liverpool and Celtic in his new role as manager of Leicester City.
The ‘Brodge’ is back. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been appointed as the new boss of Leicester City following Claude Puel’s dismissal, bringing the Irishman back for his third managerial post in the Premier League.
Rodgers will be remembered at Anfield for many years for guiding Liverpool tantalisingly close to their first Premier League title in 2013/14 and has since enjoyed large success with Celtic.
So now he returns to England for a new challenge with former champions Leicester, with the Foxes looking for a more consistent side and one that can at least come close to achieving the success enjoyed by Claudio Ranieri’s miracle-workers of the 2015/16 season.
It’s an appointment that seems to have been spoken about for a long time and it’s not hard to see why Brendan has been drawn to the prospect of becoming Leicester’s new manager.
The squad in itself is in pretty good shape. Everyone with a footballing brain can see that the Foxes have got a number of talented players in many positions: Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, Jamie Vardy, Demarai Gray, Wilfried Ndidi; the list goes on.
They are a team that is full of pace, dynamism and excitement, and that will undoubtedly have been a huge draw for Rodgers – and it echoes the side that he inherited from Kenny Dalglish back in 2012.
Liverpool had the likes of Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, Jordan Henderson and Jordan Ibe, before bringing in two players that would go on to have a major influence on his time as manager in Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in the January transfer window of 2013.
This made Liverpool a real danger going forward with the pace, power and precision of the partnerships formed between Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling in particular, with Coutinho and Henderson growing and maturing into vital members of Rodgers’ midfield.
We must not forget that this was also a team of runners and grinders who would give their all over the course of 90 minutes with a never say die attitude.
Think of those players and the style of fluid, fast-paced football Rodgers instilled into his Liverpool team and look at the Leicester squad now and you can see how his mind is probably already racing about replicating this work and that that he undertook at Swansea in the East Midlands.
He’s got players like Vardy, Albrighton and Ndidi who will not stop working from the first to the final whistle. He’s got exciting young prospects in Maddison, Barnes and Gray who he will relish working with and nurturing into even greater players than they already are. It seems like it’s a role tailor-made for Brendan, and is feels very similar to when he took over at Anfield.
Then you look at his qualities of management, both for the whole squad and the individuals within it. Steven Gerrard has spoken out many times about how brilliant he thought Brendan was as a mentor and coach.
In his second autobiography, ‘My Story’, Gerrard speaks about how he worked with Brendan to adapt his deeper-lying position that he adopted in Liverpool’s 2013/14 season and how he man-managed him and helped him to play some of his best football in years.
He spoke about how he helped to utilise his strengths and coach him through the new role and the benefits for him were clear to see.
Maybe this is what that Leicester side needs – a hand on the shoulder, the words of encouragement and the guidance to drive them to the next level.
It’s too early to say if Rodgers will be a resounding success at Leicester, but he’ll definitely give the team a lift. And you never know, when they play City on 4 May, he could still do Liverpool a favour and take some points from Guardiola’s men!