Brendan Rodgers has taken time out of his busy summer schedule—which is currently filled by Liverpool's pre-season tour of the U.S. and his quest to land new signings—to discuss the ever-evolving personnel at Anfield.
The Northern Irish manager isn't looking to land a direct replacement for Luis Suarez, who recently secured a move to Barcelona. The Uruguayan netted 31 goals in the Premier League season and defined the Reds' cut-and-thrust style of play. He injected pace, incision and prolific finishing ability, playing a major role in the club's second-place finish.
Rodgers promises Liverpool's style won't change now that Suarez is no longer at the club, despite the striker's importance in creating an exciting brand of football, per Dominic King of the Daily Mail.
"Our vision for the game really suited Luis’ qualities and I told him that when I took over," Rodgers said. "You could see that was the case over the last two years with the goals that he scored and the way that he played. That philosophy won’t change."
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Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic have already joined the club this summer, but it's Rodgers' likely signing of Loic Remy that will strengthen the side's sense of urgency up top. The Frenchman's medical results should be available Thursday, according to King, but Rodgers isn't ready to talk about the pacey forward's future until it is sorted out.
"Until they are signed and agreed to come in I will only talk about them then," said Rodgers, as reported by Ben Burrows of the Mirror. "I shall not talk about speculation on any player until they have signed."
Can is among those to have confirmed his tenure with the Merseyside club. The 20-year-old played across the breadth of Bayer Leverkusen's team last season, slotting into midfield, a holding position, centre-back and left-back. The German starlet also made an appearance on the left side of attack, confirming his tremendous versatility, per WhoScored.com.
Rodgers acknowledges as much and believes the talented player fits right into his Liverpool philosophy, as noted by King: "The only position he didn't play was in goal or centre forward. That tells me everything. Sami Hyypia had great trust in him, to play him in important positions in big games. He is a real talent with pace, power and fits our profile perfectly."
Can's versatility ensures he can be utilised in a number of roles under Rodgers, who likes to fill his squad with multifaceted players. The recently signed midfielder could sit next to Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson in midfield, pushing Lucas Leiva out of the team in a hard-working central trio.
Work rate across the pitch is key for Rodgers, who also pinpoints Markovic's energy as pivotal to his signing. "He doesn't just run forward quick but he runs back even quicker and that's important," said the boss, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo.
Although the Serb will sit wider of Can and Gerrard, his boundless speed can play a major part in the team's transition.
Gerrard's decision to retire from international football should provide his club with greater legs across the course of next season. Liverpool are set to compete across four fronts and will depend on the experience of their captain, who led the side to Champions League glory in 2005.
Rodgers indicates Gerrard's decision to quit the Three Lions was a difficult one but that it stands to aid Liverpool's upcoming challenges, as reported by King.
"I know how much it means to him to captain his country and there is no doubt he has been a wonderful captain," Rodgers said. "But you can’t forget that Liverpool means everything to him and missing out on international will make him fresher for the Champions League."
Former Everton star Tim Cahill highlighted Gerrard's appeal by tweeting shortly after his announcement dropped:
Respect to an amazing footballer even though he's a Red, retiring from international duty Steven Gerrard. #Worldclass— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill) July 21, 2014
Rodgers is in a pivotal time of his Liverpool career. He has steadied the ship, improved the team's efficiency and returned the Reds to Europe's elite competition. Last season's run to second place was remarkable not only because of the achievement but also because many fans were disappointed by their joint highest-finishing position in the Premier League era.
Expectation is certainly rising under Rodgers despite Suarez's exit. As outlined above, the headstrong manager is working hard to ensure his philosophy is ingrained within a club that is known for its fast-paced attacking football.
Rodgers appears confident his new signings can continue to aid progress ahead of a season in which many expect great things. Only time will tell, of course, but if Liverpool continue improving at the rapid rate Rodgers has already shown, plenty of success awaits.