Brendan Rodgers prepared for four years in wilderness with Liverpool

New manager admits challenge facing Liverpool 'immense'

Brendan Rodgers admits it may take four years for Liverpool to compete for Champions League places and suggests he may have left the club before the work he puts in place reaps trophies.

The new Liverpool manager appeared to have secured his first signing late last night, when sources in Italy indicated that his move to buy striker Fabio Borini from Roma had proved successful. The Serie A side's agreement of a fee with Liverpool has seen them move rapidly to buy forward Mattia Destro from Siena.

But Rodgers grimaced when he related how he had been asked about Liverpool's title prospects for the new campaign and he questioned whether the kind of domination the club enjoyed in the 1970s and 1980s could be repeated. "The challenge is immense," he said. "The club and where it was at over the years – will any club ever do that again? That's a big question. But I certainly think with a club of our status and value to the football world that we can go again. It's going to take time. And whether it will be in my time, I'm not so sure.

"Being competitive – that is the most important thing for me. To build a group that challenges. I know what we want to be in the next three or four years. We want to be up there challenging for Champions League places, but I'm not going to commit to any stupid statements now. It's about the real world. The club finished sixth, seventh and eighth over the last three seasons. Someone asked me the other day if we thought we could win the league … you know what I mean?"

Though Liverpool supporters will aspire to a fourth-place finish this season, it is unlikely that the club's owners Fenway Sports Group will hold him to that kind of target, which the principal owner, John W Henry, had said was his expectation last season. Rodgers has made it clear he believes an entire renewal of the football philosophy is required, restoring the club's style to what he called "the Liverpool way" and assembling a squad with the discipline –"courage," he calls it – to deliver the immense work rate attached to a playing system in which individualism is sacrificed for the team ethic.

Rodgers will be granted a further season outside the top four by supporters if the side's performances pick up, though the Northern Irishman's shrewdness has been evident in the way he has been rooting himself in the city and in the club's past, building credit with supporters. Taking Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler on the tour of North America when the team departs for Boston on Monday is wise, as was Rodgers' appearance in the city-centre Garlands bar at the weekend. "It's important. I'm someone of the people really," Rodgers said. "I'm someone who respects people and understands that this is a way of life here."

It is unlikely that Rodgers will try to take Joe Allen from Swansea, since the player recently signed a four-year deal and Rodgers would be unwilling to breach his agreement with his former club to take players.

He said of Liverpool's challenge: "The finances now involved in the game means its not just one or two clubs [competing for fourth spot] You look at the top six or eight clubs and financially what they have got. They are some of the superpowers of world football and we are competing with that. But it's not all about money." It is about foundations, for now. "That's why I'm here. I want to systemise it - and that's more important for me than trophies."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England