The Whites of Laudrup's Eyes
Is Brendan Rodgers feeling the Hodgson shadow already?
A few weeks back, I wrote on this site that Rodgers’ freezing out of Craig Bellamy, a willingness to loosen ties with Andy Carroll and the decision to splash £15 million pounds on Joe Allen were all "edge of the cliff" decisions.
Now, here we stand after the Reds’ heaviest opening-day defeat for 75 years, the creativity of Bellamy exported to the Championship and Carroll starting on the bench against West Brom.
And yet the manager’s post-match interview was dominated by the sound of straws being clutched as Brendan Rodgers bemoaned the lack of a spark, a goal threat, and even heaved up the old chestnuts of harsh refereeing decisions and wonder goals by the opposition both conspiring to choreograph his team’s downfall.
150 miles away in London, Allen’s cut-price replacement Michu was pulling the strings with two goals in a first Swansea victory at Loftus Road as they put five unanswered goals past QPR.
Of course the cry will come "only the first game of the season, still nearly a fortnight until the transfer window closes."
True, but which team looked more comfortable within a new template, and which manager subsequently looked more haunted facing the TV cameras post-match?
The bookies, so often the catalyst of such events, have already made Rodgers the favourite as first EPL manager to be sacked, even before Southampton’s Nigel Adkins—a man who not that many years back was managing Scunthorpe.
Will Liverpool finish Top 5 this season?
Laudrup meanwhile will have headed in the opposite direction and, with further quality signings headed to the Liberty Stadium, exciting times could follow.
Rodgers, meanwhile, has unfolded Brand Brendan onto a squad clearly not used to playing that precise way. Remember, the Swansea he inherited was already a team imbued via the Roberto Martinez revolution.
Of course, if Clint Dempsey comes into Anfield and Scott Sinclair departs the Liberty Stadium, then, as they say, all bets are off.
But for this week, Laudrup can reflect on an emphatic victory at previously fallow fields for his troops, while Rodgers licks the wounds of opening day defeat against a team managed by someone who until a short while back was Liverpool's assistant manager.
Laudrup v Rogers in South Wales on November 24 was always set to be the EPL’s hot ticket for that weekend. The opening weekend has sent that demand through the roof.