Brendan Rodgers Must Handle the Expectations at Liverpool Before Anything Else

Stephen FennellCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2012

Thumbs up now. How quickly that can change.
Thumbs up now. How quickly that can change.Clive Mason/Getty Images

Cast your mind back to the May 13 of this year at The Liberty Stadium and you'll recall a Swansea side consigning Liverpool to their 13th league defeat of the season.

Even if you're not the superstitious type, it was eerily unlucky for some.

An 86th-minute Danny Graham winner had Kenny Dalglish reaching into his over-worked quote jar amid speculation about his future. When questioned on the intentions of the club's owners to discard him come the start of the 2012/13 season he bluntly stated:

I expect the club's owners to have more integrity and dignity than that.

Three days later ''King'' Kenny was relieving the Anfield maintenance staff of their worryingly frequent duties of keeping the managerial revolving door greased, by walking through it after only one full season in charge.

Integrity and dignity are idealistic sentiments in the billionaire owner era, and it's something that Brendan Rodgers should be cognizant of as he takes charge of the 18-time league champions.

Liverpool is not Swansea, both in terms of the football played (Swansea are more attractive) and the fans' image of their respective clubs.

Expectations are meteoric at Anfield. The Liberty Stadium season ticket-holders know that a spoonful of reality can help the club from going down.

How Rodgers deals with the pressure of expectation and the inability of Liverpool fans to recognise their club for what it's currently worth, will determine how successful his time at the club is.

At his first press conference, his was quick to praise the history of the club:

Liverpool are one of the dynasties of the game. They have won five European Cups and their status is up there with AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

While it was never conceivable that he was going to speak in anything other than endearing terms about his new employers, it's worrying that another managerial appointee chooses to mention the same yardstick that fans and owners use to measure success.

Liverpool have a glittering history. They currently have an average squad.

Until the owners and fans can find away to sleep soundly at night with this reality, the club is destined to plateau as they have done since their last league success in 1989/90.

Since the Premier League began in 1992, the closest Liverpool have come to winning it is a second place finishes in 2001/02 and 2008/09.

Regardless of how big a club they are, where you finish over the course of 38 league games is an accurate reflection of your potency.

Liverpool club chairman Tom Werner was quoted  upon the appointment of Rodgers as saying:

In Brendan we have acquired a very exciting and talented and young manager. He's a forward-thinking coach at the forefront of a generation of young managers and will bring to Liverpool attacking, relentless football.

It's undoubted Rodgers has the correct philosophy where the style of play is concerned. He will set his team up in a way that will attempt to play a fluent and attacking style.

Whether he has the players to do it remains to be seen.

It's undoubted that some of the names on Fenway Sports Group's books would be considered to be ''bigger'' players than the vast majority of those employed as Swansea. This does not automatically equate to a more successful team.

Swansea have a system in place, beginning from the time of Roberto Martinez, carried on by Paulo Sousa and through to Rodgers' two seasons with the club.

This system consisted of the youth academy graduates and frugal signings to play a stylized brand of football based upon the ingrained fundamentals of the club.

Liverpool do not have such a setup and their academy has been one area that has been noticeably unproductive. It is an area that is currently being addressed, but it takes time.

Just ask Spain how long it took for their revamped youth policy to bear fruit.

If Brendan Rodgers is given time, he may well be the club's most shrewd signing in recent times. Liverpool will not be playing in the Champions League again this year and their draw as a big name is diminished.

All these factors add up, and coupled with the big spending of the Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham, the task only gets more disconcerting.

Liverpool fans will need to learn that patience is a must, not just a virtue. It took Manchester United from 1968 until 1992 to win a league title.

If the Kop faithful and the club's owners fail to comprehend this, Brendan Rodgers will be another ex-Liverpool manager who thought he would never walk alone.


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