So perhaps European qualification isn’t out of the question, but that December quote from Brendan Rodgers on the possibility of finishing second that was seized upon and overblown by the media will live long in our memories.
In the few months that Rodgers has been at Anfield, he has offered sound bites and quotes aplenty, winning over many a Liverpool fan with his ambitious and Bill Shankly-esque loquacity and delighting many a journalist or rival fan with his overzealous and long-winded press conferences.
They’ve certainly delighted us. Now let’s revisit some of the most enjoyable moments Brendan Rodgers has given us since assuming the Anfield throne, and hope there will be many more.
“I’ve always said that you can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope.” (Telegraph)
Ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Brendan Rodgers’ former team, Swansea City, in February 2013, he was asked about the challenge he faces as Reds manager, both on and off the field, and he came up with the above gem when talking about his approach to his work as a football manager.
Hope is all well and good, but when you bring in one of the basic needs for human life and mention it in the same breath with football...
“You train dogs, I like to educate players.” (Being: Liverpool documentary)
You see, the thing about Brendan Rodgers is that his quotes, unlike some of Rafa Benitez’s and Jose Mourinho’s, actually make sense most of the time.
Like this one on training dogs and educating players. We get it, just like we got the water and hope connection with football in the previous slide. It’s just that we wonder what the reaction of the players would be when you compare them with dogs...
“I think there’s three players who will let us down this year—the cause, the fight, everything—and I have written them down already in these three envelopes. Make sure you are not in one of the envelopes.” (Being: Liverpool documentary)
And for most office-going folk like us, we get this quote and this situation too. A team-building and supposedly inspirational session that gets us pumped and motivated.
The catch is, of course, that Rodgers might eventually be in the position to reveal the names in his envelopes—or to show that he actually prepared blank ones. Either way, we already saw the reaction of the players to his meditation sessions in the documentary, and it wasn’t too encouraging...
“I use a quote with the players, per aspera ad astra, which is Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars’.” (Telegraph)
Through adversity to the stars. What a wonderfully inspiring motto and what a wonderfully noble ambition to get Liverpool back among the biggest names in world football.
But there’s that whole part about using Latin to inspire a group of working-class and non-Anglo-Saxon footballers. There’s something about Rodgers’ innocence. Or is it earnesty? Pretentiousness? Either way, there’s just something about it.
“I’m not one who goes down the desperation route, if I’m being honest. In my career, I’ve won a number of games, especially against big teams, by continuing to play and waiting for those moments at the end of the game.” (Liverpool Echo)
On October 7, 2012, Liverpool endured yet another goalless draw against Stoke City at Anfield. Cue the press questions on Liverpool’s focus on passing football. Cue the above response.
This one is truly head-scratching. When the going is good for the Reds, they play as if they are world-beaters, Barcelona-esque even. But even Barcelona have their bad days. They had no answer to a ruthlessly counterattacking Real Madrid. And we all know what they say about Leo Messi: He hasn’t proven himself in England yet; he needs to show he can do it on a cold Wednesday night at Stoke.
“When you’ve got the ball 65-70% of the time, it’s a football death for the other team...It’s death by football.” (Fan interview, ThisIsAnfield.com)
Brendan Rodgers likes possession of the football. He likes dominating the ball. He’s made that much clear in his time at Anfield. He also enjoys capital punishment...by way of football.
Perhaps he was taking a leaf out of Bill Shankly’s book when he referenced the life-and-death aspect to football. As clichés go, teams have “had their creativity stifled out of them,” “been on the end of a right battering” and “received a lesson in football.” But dying? By football?
That’s a first. And our favorite.
Like these quotes? Check out Rachel Bascom’s collection of Rafa Benitez quotes here.
Follow me @theredarmchair.