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Brendan Rodgers Rules Out Summer Barcelona Move Amid Liverpool Contract Talk

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12:  Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at Britannia Stadium on January 12, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured Columnist IVNovember 28, 2016

Brendan Rodgers has quashed rumours of a summer move to Barcelona, saying he "can't really think of being anywhere else" other than Liverpool.

The Northern Irish manager—linked with a move to the Camp Nou, per Steve Bates of the Mirror—confirms he is happy at Anfield and suggests he has a major job to do, as reported by Sky Sports:

I feel really at home here, I can't really think of being anywhere else. This is a wonderful football club and hopefully as time goes on and the philosophy becomes second nature, we continue to do better and advance.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers waves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on December 7, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rodgers was speaking after Reds captain Steven Gerrard urged Fenway Sports Group to offer the manager a new contract as reward for his fantastic season, per an alternate Sky Sports report.

The club have made huge strides under Rodgers and look set to consistently challenge for major trophies in the coming years.

Gerardo Martino continues to receive criticism for not following Barcelona's traditional philosophy in Catalonia. The Argentinian is likely to step aside at the end of the current campaign, but La Blaugrana may opt for a return to their roots with their next appointment, per Ed Malyon of the Mirror:

Diego Simeone and Brendan Rodgers are both reported to have impressed with their achievements at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool respectively but are not being actively considered for now as the club continue to search for a manager 'from within'.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring the first goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 16, 2014 in Manchester, England.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's easy to see why Barca may be interested in Rodgers. The ambitious manager has given Liverpool their identity back since taking over in 2012, turning the club into a well-drilled, meticulously organised attacking unit that lacks any sense of fear in major games.

This was highlighted during memorable wins over Tottenham, Everton, Arsenal and Manchester United, four games which saw Rodgers' team score a total of 17 goals and concede just one, per WhoScored.com. Liverpool's ascension to second in the Premier League is more than deserved, but with Champions League football looking a certainty next season, Rodgers has tougher tasks ahead.

His ability to unearth talent also makes the 41-year-old an attractive prospect. Rodgers has successfully improved players such as Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho since taking over, while he continues to provide youth opportunities with Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan currently enjoying a run in the first team.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Jordan Henderson of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with his team-mate Steven Gerrard during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on February 23, 2014 in Liv
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rodgers' attributes are perhaps rare in modern football. Many managers are inclined to spend on established targets, but there's always a sense Rodgers believes he can improve any of his signings' overall game. With Barcelona currently working through a transitional period, Rodgers' level of self-assurance is sure to evoke some kind of interest.

He will become the most sought-after manager in English football if Liverpool emerge as Premier League champions this season, an achievement that may come down to the club's April fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea.

As a former protege of Jose Mourinho, Rodgers' excellence would be underlined if he was to enter the April 27 fixture in a straight shootout for the title against his old tutor. The way Liverpool are playing, few would bet against the Merseyside club coming out on top at home.

Rodgers' success is best summed up by his link to Barcelona, but the manager must maintain focus heading into this crucial period. He isn't the type of person to get flustered under speculation, nor is he the type of manager who loses focus.

The Barcelona rumours are flattering, but for Rodgers, he is well on the road to securing silverware in his current job.

 

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