BRENDAN RODGERS has told how an evening with a host of Liverpool FC legends has given him extra motivation in the “monumental challenge” of restoring the club to its former glory.
The Reds boss was a guest at this week’s Liverpool Former Players’ Association charity dinner, in the Anfield trophy room.
He felt like “an impostor” among the likes of Ron Yeats, Alan Kennedy and Phil Neal, but says he was buoyed by the support he was given after a tough start to the season.
Liverpool go into today’s home clash with Wigan in 13th place in the Premier League, and looking to break a frustrating run of three successive league draws.
“I loved every minute of that charity night,” said Rodgers.
“There were guys there like big Ron Yeats, Ronnie Whelan, Gordon Wallace, Alan Kennedy, Gary Gillespie, Jan Molby, Phil Neal, Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler – it was just fantastic.
“I felt like an impostor but it was incredible. Listening to the stories and speaking with these guys who are true greats of the club brought me to one of the reasons why I came to the club.
“It was a wonderful night and nights like that serve as a great motivation for me.
“What’s even more inspiring is the attitude of those players I spoke to. They know the era that they were in, they understand the difficulties now and they are very supportive.
“They know the work that needs to be done here to get us anywhere near where they were at.
“I knew coming in here it was a monumental challenge but it was one I wanted to embrace.”
Rodgers says the style of football he has installed at Anfield is a nod to Liverpool’s illustrious past – a variation on the pass and move philosophy which served the club so well down the decades.
“I didn’t come in here and say I was reinventing the wheel,” he said. “I’m not that arrogant to suggest that I’m doing that. It’s not rocket science.
“I know this club has had a way of working for many years. I’ve come in and attached to me is a certain way of doing things which I’m very proud of.
“I will always fight to protect that way of working, but I’ve been brought here because of my way of work.
“This is a way of working in tune with the football club and I’ve been brought in to bring that way back to Liverpool. That’s something that will take time.
“A lot of teams in the Premier League have had stable squads for a long time, even the likes of Wigan. We are trying to form something here and the philosophy is part of that."
Wigan were beaten 2-1 at home by West Brom last week but the 3-4-3 formation favoured by Roberto Martinez has proved successful on their travels.
“They have beaten Tottenham and Southampton away this season and it’s going to be tough,” said Rodgers.
“We’ve got evidence of that from last season when they came to Anfield and won.
“I know Franco di Santo well as I worked with him when he came to Chelsea from Chile. He has improved each year. Arouna Kone is direct and fast and in those transition moments, if there is a direct pass, he can obviously affect it with his pace.”
Having started with 3-5-2 at Chelsea last weekend, Rodgers is expected to return to 4-3-3 on home soil this afternoon.
“It is a great credit to the players in terms of their flexibility,” he added. “We’ve used it a couple of times this season and at certain moments tactically it is something the players can flip to.
“In the first half last week, defensively we were solid enough but I felt it had an impact on our pressing, which we like to do from the front and it is easier to do that with three players.
“It worked reasonably well for us but didn’t give us the attacking impetus we wanted but it is something to look at in the future.”