Manchester United v Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers empathises with David Moyes, but says following a club legend 'never intimidated me'
Rodgers followed Kenny Dalglish into the hotseat, much like Moyes followed Sir Alex Ferguson
Friday 14 March 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers can empathise with Manchester United counterpart David Moyes as he has first-hand experience of what it means to replace a club icon.
Moyes was handed the impossible task of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford but Rodgers faced a similar task when he took over from Kenny Dalglish in the summer of 2012.
After a shaky first six months Rodgers has come out the other side with a team in such a good shape they are in contention for the title having finished seventh last season.
Moyes, who almost every week is watched from the directors' box by his much-decorated predecessor, is experiencing what Rodgers did last year and the Liverpool boss is better placed than most to comprehend the task facing the Scot.
"I can only talk for myself but the pressures of coming into a big club and following someone like Kenny who still is a club legend here never intimidated me," he said.
"To manage at this level you have to have the self-confidence; you're not worried about who is sat behind you in the stand, who is up there in the clouds watching you.
"That doesn't happen when you are a manager at this level.
"I have empathy for the pressures which come with taking over such a huge club."
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Rodgers continued: "It is incomparable the states of the two clubs because they were champions, there are serial winners in there, and when I came to this club they were eighth.
"The rebuilding and remodelling of the two clubs was totally different.
"David will be fine there and he will get it right. It has been a steep learning curve for him this year, he will have gone in there and seen things you only have a certain length of time to address.
"But I am sure he will have learned a lot this season and will kick on."
Liverpool head to Old Trafford on Sunday with the roles reversed from last season as the Merseysiders are second in the table, seven points behind Chelsea with a match in hand, while their arch-rivals are effectively battling it out for a Europa League place.
While there has been much talk of a sea-change in the north-west in terms of United's dominance waning and Liverpool's influence growing, Rodgers is keen not to stoke the fires of that debate.
For him it is not about being better than United - especially when they are seventh in the league - but being the best.
"The benchmark for us is the best," he said.
"First of all we are always challenging the team at the top - not Manchester United, who are further down.
"Liverpool has its own great history both domestically and in European football so for us the benchmark has always been the best and we will always look to do that.
"I never said when I came in here we wanted to be fourth. Top four is where we want to be but Liverpool will always be judged on being the best, both here and in Europe not against Manchester United.
"We are only concentrating on ourselves. They (United) have some great players, they have probably one of the largest wage bills so they have top players there but I don't know the dressing room well enough to know where they are at.
"Our focus is only on Liverpool. The club decided to go a (certain) way 18 months ago and I was asked to carry on some of the brilliant work Kenny did in reshaping the club.
"We have just continued down a road which has seen us develop and improve.
"There is still a long way to go in terms of where we want to be but we are on the right road."
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