Anfield and Brendan Rodgers begin the long journey out of the shadows of the reign of King Kenny

 

Anfield

It had rained all week on Merseyside; wet enough for the Creamfields pop festival up the road in Warrington to be abandoned. It would, however, have needed a monsoon to wash the blood out of Anfield.

Liverpool are a club that has committed regicide. The removal of Kenny Dalglish was a big, big call; the argument for it was not overwhelming and to most who crammed into the old stadium yesterday he was an icon – a poster on their bedroom wall, a line in a song, a keeper of their flame.

Anfield's last league game here had seen Dalglish lead his side on a lap of honour after Chelsea had been crushed 4-1. He walked very slowly past each banner-draped corner of the ground, almost as if he knew – and maybe he did already know – that he would not be returning.

This was a big, big moment for Brendan Rodgers. The club's American owners had always wanted a young, intelligent, innovative manager. At one time it might have been Jurgen Klopp from Borussia Dortmund or Andre Villas-Boas rather than the boy from the Antrim coast.

In many ways, despite the radical changes Rodgers has made – there were only four survivors in this starting line-up from that game against Chelsea – it was a game that echoed how Dalglish's sides had performed at Anfield last season. Liverpool played well, they entertained and yet they did not win.

Whoever had succeeded Dalglish would have had to journey long and far to escape their predecessor's shadow or the rhythmic, menacing chants of "Dalglish" that had so haunted Roy Hodgson's brief time at Liverpool. It was not sounded once on an afternoon that made what Rodgers called "the journey" appear a little less daunting.

Defensively, however, Liverpool have now conceded five times in two games and displayed self-destructive tendencies that mirror the Spice Boys of Roy Evans at their worst. It was typical of Rodgers that he should say Martin Skrtel's fatal back-pass had been brave rather than foolish.

He must have feared Manchester City would inflict greater damage. Rodgers was facing the champions of England without his best defender, Daniel Agger, and with a side that is very much a work in progress. His latest acquisition, Real Madrid's Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin, watched from the directors' box with a scarf around his neck.

Rodgers' other signings, Joe Allen and Fabio Borini, performed well enough under pressure to suggest that the fear factor that comes with playing at Anfield, and which notably has seemed to inhibit Jordan Henderson, will not infect them.

"Bittersweet is the perfect way to sum it up," said Allen, cradling a man-of-the match champagne that but for a single disastrous pass to Carlos Tevez might have gone to Skrtel.

"He is 5ft 6in," said Rodgers, his manager at Swansea and now Liverpool, "but as a footballer Joe stands 7ft 6in tall and the supporters will enjoy watching him play."

Choosing the teenage Raheem Sterling to face the champions of England suggested that whatever he may be, Rodgers will be bold. It has been quite a summer for Jamaicans with pace to burn and Sterling, born in Kingston but brought up in London, possesses that. His signing, from the Queen's Park Rangers academy, was one of the last acts carried out under Rafa Benitez, another whose regime carries with it a fair dollop of nostalgia at Anfield.

Sterling had only made his full debut in the 1-0 win over Heart of Midlothian last Thursday night but, as Theo Walcott has shown, there is something purely electric about a young man who attacks defences at speed – although Sterling was helped by the defence he was running at, one that has now conceded two goals in each of its first three games.

"Was it a hard decision to pick him?" Rodgers wondered aloud. "No, it was an easy decision.

"I told the players that I will not judge them on their status at the club, I will judge them on what I see in front of me."

What he saw was the first step on Liverpool's journey away from its past.

Is Sterling the new Barnes?

Raheem Sterling impressed yesterday but Brendan Rodgers had contemplated sending him on loan before his display in the Europa League at Hearts. Sterling, 17, has been compared with the Liverpool great John Barnes. Both wingers were born in Kingston and grew up.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform