Ahead of Monday night's International Champions Cup final between Liverpool and Man Utd, Brendan Rodgers has been speaking about the very real possibility that he and Louis Van Gaal could have been working together for Liverpool. Rodgers was initially hesitant to take the Liverpool job when it was offered in 2012 after it was suggested that he would have to work with a director of football.
That role was widely speculated to have been offered to Louis van Gaal but Rodgers had other ideas for how he wanted to take the Anfield club forward and even a name as respected as Van Gaal could not convince him to renounce full control of the team.
I’m not sure how many people the club spoke to but certainly for me coming in, I was always going to work with a team of people, rather than for a director of football. I always think the manager is the technical director. He is the man who oversees the football development of the club, and I believe you should take on that responsibility when you are manager.
I work best whenever I have clear communication lines with owners. My only failure – if you can call it that – was when I had something in between at Reading, which was when I had a director of football.
One of my strengths is to communicate upwards, and if I can’t do that, or if the message is watered down then I don’t work the same. For me it was important that when I came in (to Liverpool) I didn’t want those lines blocked.
It’s not that I can never work with one. But I felt it was important, with all the work that needed to be done, and the size of the job I took on, that I needed to have the full responsibility in order to do that job. And I think the owners backed that.
Having led the club from 8th to 2nd in his first two seasons in charge, Rodgers will surely feel vindicated in his decision to reject the chance to work Van Gaal. However, the Northern Irish man was nonetheless forthcoming in his praise for the new Man Utd manager ahead of the game in Miami.
I’m aware of the methods, I’m aware of how he works, and obviously he’s had a very good career. He’s a very experienced manager, a very good manager and he’s gone into them, and he’ll look to make his mark.
I’m very much into the tactics of the game and I am looking forward to it in that respect. We played a variety of systems last season that worked well for us, and Louis has come in and adopted the 3-5-2.
He obviously had success at the World Cup with that, and is looking to roll it out at Manchester United, so yeah, it’s not what you’d call two standard systems or two standard coaches, it’s two coaches who are thinkers of the game.
Obviously he has far greater experience than I have, and been around for so many years. But I have learned from the best, and that is what I have always done.