Brendan Rodgers: 5 Early Reads on What His Appointment Means for Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers has been in the Liverpool job little more than a month, but his impact on the club's supporters and playing staff has already been apparent.
Fans have taken to his forthright style in interviews, his willingness to embrace the Liverpool Football Club culture and his preferred playing style, while the players—including club captain Steven Gerrard and midfielder Lucas Leiva—have also been keen to lavish praise on the methodology of the new boss.
On the cusp of his first competitive match in charge of Liverpool—a Europa League qualifier in Belarus—here are five early signs we can take on what the appointment of Rodgers will mean for Liverpool FC over the coming season.
A More Controlled, Patient and Effective Style of Play
Some of Liverpool's play under Kenny Dalglish last season was superb; they exuded a dominance over opponents, played at a good tempo and created plenty of chances.
Unfortunately they also lowered their performance levels significantly for several games at a time and dropped silly points at home and away to sides lower down the table as a result of either below par performances or else not taking their chances.
Rodgers will expect the same good tempo, approach to victory and patterns of play on the pitch, regardless of venue or opponent.
It might take time to be a regular feature of the Reds' play, but over time it will give more consistent performances—and hopefully results.
High Turnover of Players over the Next Two or Three Transfer Windows
Liverpool's squad is packed full of international players—but the likes of Alberto Aquilani and Andy Carroll have been linked with moves out of the club, with more set to follow suit before the end of the transfer window.
Brendan Rodgers will want to put his own mark on the squad in this summer's window, with only Fabio Borini arriving so far under the Northern Irishman's watch.
It will likely take far more than one more month though for him to settle the side up the way he wants, so expect further deals in and out in January and then next summer again as Rodgers gets rid of those who don't fit his philosophy.
Lucas Leiva to Play a Big Part in Rodgers' Reds Revival
Brendan Rodgers has already had words of praise for Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing, Luis Suarez and Jamie Carragher—and now Lucas Leiva is the latest recipient of kind words from the boss.
Lucas is Liverpool's defensive midfield linchpin and his absence was keenly felt last season while he sat on the sidelines injured from October onwards.
With him back in the team the Reds have a base from which to start their long spells of possession, in the knowledge that he is reliable off the ball, will rarely give the ball away and will always be available to receive it from his teammates.
He has a big part to play again this season once recovered fully from his injury.
Better Penetration from Wide Areas into Opponents Penalty Box
One frustratingly constant feature of Liverpool's play last season was the lack of penetration from deep or wide areas into the penalty box during attacks.
With Steven Gerrard frequently injured, there was nobody who aided the forwards in attacking crosses, getting past the forward or looking to get on the end of knock-downs or rebounds.
Charlie Adam stops at the edge of the box, the wide players hung back too frequently and even the forwards dropped deep to link up play, leaving one or even none in Red in the area to try to score.
This season, even in friendly matches, the likes of Joe Cole and Dani Pacheco have already been evidently trying to get in the box more often, as well as the young Raheem Sterling from the wide forward areas.
A big benefit of the switch to 4-3-3.
Home Form Will Be Expected to Improve Hugely
Six wins from Liverpool's 19 home matches last season was, quite simply, far from good enough.
Indeed, it must have been a big part of the reason for the eventual sacking of former manager Kenny Dalglish.
Liverpool expect to win games at Anfield, expect to dominate teams and beat them comfortably and unforgivingly—and this is an area Rodgers will look to improve on hugely.
The Reds should realistically be aiming for 13 or 14 wins at home in the Premier League, allowing for a few dropped points at unexpected moments.
Those 42 points would give the club a sound footing for a Champions League place charge—which should likely need a further eight victories away from home to go close to a top four spot, with around 70 points required.
And that, of course, will be Brendan Rodgers' main objective for this season.