Rodgers enjoys the moment as players buy into his way of thinking


An expensive car sat stationary at the Shankly Gates, its engine idling as autograph hunters pushed scraps of papers through the windows. Stewards made half-hearted attempts to clear the crowd but, judging by his smile, Brendan Rodgers was rather enjoying the moment.

Around 90 minutes earlier the final whistle had blown on a win that Liverpool’s manager must have felt represented more than the collection of an admittedly precious three points.

Quite apart from coming up against Roberto Martinez – a rival for the Anfield job last summer – it had the air of a watershed moment. A case of weeks of painstaking training ground choreography paying off as players demonstrated they are really beginning to grasp his vision.

Granted, it would almost certainly not have happened without Luis Suarez but it is slightly unfair to dub Anfield’s class of 2012-13 a one-man team.

Rodgers’ conversion of Jose Enrique from out-of-favour full-back to inventive left-sided attacking midfielder resulted in the Spaniard scoring his first goal for the club, creating Suarez’s second and inspiring several of Liverpool’s best moments.

Equally encouragingly, England new boy Raheem Sterling – one of three teenagers in Liverpool’s starting XI – also excelled, conjuring goals for Suarez and Jose Enrique.

“Raheem’s pull-back for Suarez’s first was dead weight,” Rodgers said. It came after the 17-year-old intercepted Jean Beausejour’s slapdash pass and rounded Maynor Figueroa.

Later, Sterling’s parried shot precipitated Jose Enrique tapping home the third.

Despite his disappointment, Martinez – whose 3-4-1-2 formation initially confounded Liverpool – applauded Sterling’s talent. “He’s someone who finds the little spaces really well, then he’s very direct,” said Wigan’s manager. “I love that sort of football.”

Sterling was blameless for the sickening collision of shins with Ben Watson which left the Wigan midfielder with a broken leg and Martinez discussing the types of surgical screws and nails potentially required to repair it. “Raheem’s amazing,” said Rodgers who remains confident his protege will shortly sign a new, lengthy, contract. “He’s so bright and sharp and you’re seeing that little bit of arrogance with the ball.”

Guardian Service

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.