Before Jürgen Klopp took over at Liverpool we had had some recent brushes with greatness, we had gotten within touching distance only to fall at the final hurdle. Rafa Benitez lifted the Champions League and came close in the Premier League. Brendan Rodgers infamously came even closer to the league title. The Northern Irishman’s time at Anfield could’ve been very different, Rodgers has claimed he tried to sign Virgil van Dijk in 2013.
The Rodgers years
Rodgers was appointed Liverpool manager in 2012 following the departure of King Kenny Dalglish.
The coach had impressed at Swansea City and his appointment at Anfield was endorsed by Jose Mourinho.
His first season was unremarkable, his second was a wild ride we will never forget.
In the 2013/14 season the Reds led the league table by five points with just three games to go then…well, let’s not get into that.
The current Leicester City manager was sacked in October 2015 after a disappointing start to the season.
Rodgers tried to sign Van Dijk
The BBC recently released a documentary about the Reds 30 year wait for a top flight title.
The ex-Reds boss contributed to the programme, discussing where his Liverpool side fell short and making a surprising transfer claim (via Liverpool ECHO):
“We were great going forward, we were just that bit inconsistent defending. I’ve got no doubt that if we had Virgil van Dijk in our back four at that point we would have won the league.
“When I was at Liverpool I asked about Van Dijk when he was at Groningen and then at Celtic but I was told he wouldn’t be for us at the time.”
What RTK has to say
It is probably a blessing in disguise that Brendan Rodgers didn’t sign Virgil van Dijk.
Everything that the defender did up until the point he signed for the Reds put him in the place he was when he transformed our defence.
He learned plenty of lessons at Celtic and Southampton, if we’d have signed him earlier he may not have had time to grow, we could’ve grown impatient with him, he may not have become the same player.
Thankfully he learned his lessons before he arrived at Anfield and now we have the greatest centre back in the world.