He hasn't been on the job a week yet, but people are already judging whether or not the hiring of Brendan Rodgers was a good idea. That's all well and good, but some of them are making definitive judgements on the subject. I've seen some people using statements like "He is...," instead of something like, "He might be..."
The truth is nobody knows for sure whether Rodgers will be a successful manager at Liverpool, not even Rodgers, to be quite honest.
What follows is a list of three reasons I think Fenway Sports Group made a good hire in Rodgers.
He's not Roy Hodgson
This may seem a little harsh, and a swipe at the new England manager, but Roy Hodgson set the tone for his (thankfully) short tenure at Anfield during his introductory press conference.
As Gareth Roberts of The Anfield Wrap wrote, Hodgson talked about lowering expectations and about things he couldn't control at the club.
Roberts continued, "Despite the revisionism since, Hodgson did get a chance at Anfield – his downfall was his own making. But seeds of doubt about his suitability were planted the first time he tightened a Liverpool tie for the press."
Rodgers, on the other hand, took every question and answered it with positive, thoughtful answers, a sign of a man comfortable in his own skin, one that won't shrink away when the glare of the spotlight finds him.
Rodgers was confident without being arrogant. He didn't try to hide from his faults and readily admitted getting it wrong at Reading. He knows that he will have to win over the players and the supporters and work to prove the doubters wrong.
I've either watched or attended more than a few press conferences. Most of them were uneventful, a few went better than expected and a few went tragically wrong. This was, I think, one of those that went better than expected by those in attendance and those watching on TV.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he was prepped for it, but it didn't seem to me to be an act. If Rodgers can keep this up when things aren't going so well, he should be fine.
He knows he's not Kenny Dalglish
Replacing a club legend like Kenny Dalglish is never easy. Just ask any of the men's basketball coaches at UCLA since the retirement of John Wooden.
While saying during his introductory press conference that his door will always be open for Dalglish, Rodgers also acknowledged the difficulty some fans are having with Dalglish's departure. He said:
“I will never replace Kenny Dalglish, that’s the reality of it.
“I can only be Brendan Rodgers and do the very best I can for the football club. I’m not here to jump above – this was a guy who was voted the best player in the history of Liverpool Football Club, who’s a legend of a manager here and a fantastic man.
“So there’s not a race for me, that’s a race I would lose. But for me, what I want to do is prove my worth and prove my honesty and commitment to Liverpool Football Club. History judges you as a manager, that’s the reality of it. So it won’t be now, it will be history – and I hope history will allow me to walk alongside some of the great managers here.”
There's a saying in sports that goes, "You don't want to be the guy that replaces a legend. You want to be the guy that replaces the guy that replaced the legend." By acknowledging that you can't truly replace Dalglish, only succeed him, Rodgers is making the case that he should be judged on his own merits, not measured up against anyone else, including Dalglish.
He worked with Mourinho at Chelsea
As much as I dislike Jose Mourinho for the time he spent at Chelsea, there's no denying that he is a very good manager. His teams have won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and he's won the Champions League with two clubs (Porto in 2003-04 and Inter Milan in 2009-10).
You don't get to be that successful without also being able to spot talented people and put them in places where they'll be able to succeed.
In 2004, Mourinho tabbed Rodgers as his youth team coach at Chelsea. Two years later, he promoted him to the manager of the reserves.
Upon Rodgers taking the helm at Anfield, Mourinho told reporters, "I am very happy with his appointment, especially because he did it as a consequence of all his amazing work at Swansea."
Mourinho said that when Rodgers joined Chelsea, he had a great desire to learn, but also had his own ideas and wasn't afraid to share them.
Mourinho doesn't talk about other coaches a lot. Actually, it seems odd when he's not talking about himself, so him making an effort to praise Rodgers says a lot about Rodgers and their relationship.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me why in the comments.