Brendan Rodgers insists he is still the best man to lead Liverpool

‘There will always be names mentioned - that is the mark of a huge, worldwide club’

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants the club to be forceful in the transfer market this summer. Photo: Andy Rain/EPA

Brendan Rodgers has claimed he is the manager best suited to Fenway Sports Group's strategy for Liverpool but needs the club to be "forceful" in the transfer market to deliver consistent success to Anfield.

The Liverpool manager has received fierce criticism for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat by Aston Villa and a performance he described as "very static, with no movement, no penetration; nothing". However, he dismissed the suggestion there has been a lack of progress this season or that a rival manager, including the soon-to-be-available Jurgen Klopp, would achieve more within the parameters of FSG's plans for the club.

Rodgers described himself as the best man for the job when Liverpool were toiling earlier this season but this latest declaration contained a challenge to the club's owners over their policy of developing young talent rather than purchasing proven, more expensive players. It arrived on the day the club's vice-captain, Jordan Henderson, signed a new five-year contract worth a basic £100,000 a week.

On the prospect of Klopp being considered for his role when the German coach leaves Borussia Dortmund this summer the Liverpool manager said: "There will always be names mentioned at a club like Liverpool. That is the mark of a huge, worldwide club. That will continue for however long I'm here." Rodgers also reiterated, "I don't think there's anyone better [than him]" for realising FSG's goals and "I didn't take over a 10-year machine that was used to winning".


Elaborating on why he believes he is the perfect fit for Liverpool, Rodgers said: “When you lose a big game like at the weekend, this is when you find you are at a big club because the critics come after you. But that is something you have to deal with. I will hold myself up against anyone to manage this club and to fit the model of what they want. I am super-ambitious in terms of wanting to win and there will be no greater place to do that than here, but of course in modern football there are lots of processes that go on behind the scenes that people will never be aware of.

"In terms of what we are trying to do, I do not see anyone better in terms of the hand we were given. When I came in, the team was eighth. Yes, we had the Carling Cup win but, in terms of where the club wanted to go, we implemented a philosophy that was exciting, that won games, that almost won the league unexpectedly and qualified for the Champions League. We've got to two cup semi-finals this season, one of which we have not performed well in.

“The plan here is to be consistent winners, not to be ‘nearly men’. We do not want that label. We are here to win and there is no one more ambitious. If there comes a time when that is not the case and we move on, there will be no one who respects the owners more than me. But I will fight for my life to be here and if I can get the tools here to help us we can be really successful.”

Liverpool have missed out on several of Rodgers' leading transfer targets since he joined the club - including Alexis Sanchez last summer - and the manager is anxious there is no repeat in the pursuit of a few proven talents at the end of this season.

Rodgers, who admitted he is unsure when Daniel Sturridge will recover from the hip injury that forced him out of the semi-final and will keep him out of Saturday's trip to West Bromwich Albion, added: "If you look at last season we had a really good starting 11 but suffered in terms of our depth. We addressed that last summer but indirectly we missed out on the starting 11 because we lost our two top strikers [Sturridge and Luis Suarez]. This year we've enough potential and players we can develop but I think it is definitely starters we need and we have to be really forceful to get them."

Henderson was one of several first-team regulars to hit an impasse over a new contract with Liverpool this season but has now committed his future to Anfield until 2020 on an incentivised deal.

Liverpool’s vice-captain said: “I have always said that I wanted to stay here because of the size of the club, the fans and I feel we have got a fantastic manager as well. But we do need to kick on and start winning things. We can’t always say that we have got a lot of potential in the team but never win anything. We have made big improvements over the last couple of years but the next phase for us is to win things. Next year is going to be a big year. The conversations that I have had with the manager about what we are looking to achieve have been positive. I am ambitious and I want to win as many medals as I can. I feel this is the right club to do it.”

Martin Skrtel and Jordon Ibe are also in line for new contracts at Liverpool but talks over an extension for Raheem Sterling are on hold until the summer.

Guardian Service