England – Liverpool hired Brendan Rodgers as their new manager on Friday, plucking the highly regarded Northern Irishman from relative obscurity after his successful spell at fellow English Premier League team Swansea.
In arguably the most low-key managerial appointment made by the fallen English giants in a generation, the 39-year-old Rodgers was preferred to Wigan manager Roberto Martinez despite having only one season’s experience in England’s top division.
That year, however, proved to be a highly successful one, with Swansea finishing 11th in its first season in the Premier League and earning plenty of admirers because the Welsh team’s attractive, possession-based style of play.
Rodgers will be charged with improving Liverpool‘s fortunes in the league after a disappointing eight-place finish that was sealed by a 1-0 loss to Swansea on the final day of the season.
It was the 18-time English champions’ lowest league placing in 18 years and saw them finish 17 points off a Champions League qualification spot, the minimum goal of the club’s American owners.
That led to the firing of club legend Kenny Dalglish, who won the League Cup to end a six-year trophy drought at Anfield.
Fenway Sports Group targeted the hiring of a young manager to replace Dalglish and also held talks with Martinez. But it decided on Rodgers, who was once a youth-team manager at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and has also managed second-tier clubs Watford and Reading.
Qualifying Liverpool for the Champions League will be Rodgers’ first task, with the ultimate aim being a 19th English title to match the record haul of bitter rival Manchester United.
Liverpool ruled English football in the 1970s and 1980s but haven’t won the league since 1990. They remain one of the world’s most famous and successful clubs, having won the European Cup/Champions League five times – behind only Real Madrid (9) and AC Milan (5).
Liverpool will have to pay compensation to Swansea – reported to be in the region of £4 million pounds – because Rodgers has three years left on his contract at the Liberty Stadium. – Sapa-AP