New Reds boss Rodgers sets sights on EPL title
LIVERPOOL - Agence France-Presse
Brendan Rodgers. Reuters photoBrendan Rodgers said he aimed to bring the glory days back to Liverpool after being appointed the new manager of the former kings of English football on June 1.
It is more than 20 years since Liverpool was last crowned champions of England, with the Merseysiders rarely challenging for the title in the intervening decades.
To make matters worse, it is archrivals Manchester United who has become the dominant force in English football, while Liverpool has also been overtaken by big-spenders Chelsea, the reigning Champions League holders, and current Premier League champions Manchester City.
But former Swansea manager Rodgers said Liverpool’s illustrious past, which includes five European Cups, was an inspiration and not a burden.
“That was the attraction, the history of the club,” Rodgers told a news conference on June 1. “Also the frustration. It has been over 20 years since they won the title. We might not be ready for the title but the process begins today, it’s a new cycle, and that is something that we will work towards in the years to come.”
The 39-year-old Northern Irishman succeeds Anfield great Kenny Dalglish, who was sacked last month after his second spell in charge ended with Liverpool finishing the season a massive 37 points behind Manchester City.
“I’m blessed to be given this opportunity,” said Rodgers, who spent two years in charge of Swansea, guiding the Welsh club into the Premier League and last season securing an 11th place finish for the newly promoted side.
The Merseyside club’s American owners the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) had given Dalglish more than £100 million to spend in the transfer market. But expensive signings such as Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam have largely flopped, with Liverpool’s eighth place finish its worst season-ending position for nearly two decades.
“I want to thank John Henry (Liverpool’s principal owner), Tom Werner (chairman) and FSG for the opportunity to manage such a great club,” said Rodgers. “I’m really excited and I can’t wait to get started on this incredible project going forward. I promise to dedicate my life to fight for this club and defend the great principles of Liverpool Football Club on and off the field.”
The Merseysiders won the last of their 18 English titles in 1990 and Henry added: “We do not expect miracles overnight nor should anyone else.
“But we firmly believe that the direction the club is heading in will lead to Premier League championships.”