Rodgers: 'Manchester City gave me back my confidence'

But how long will it last? Offer to join Mancini's staff restored self-belief – new manager must now do the same for Liverpool

At various times, Manchester City have restored his wavering self-belief, brought home the reality of the Premier League and then proved to him that he belongs there. No wonder that Brendan Rodgers, for two months the manager of Liverpool, cannot wait to take them on today; and never mind the small incentive of proving to his new club's supporters that last weekend's 3-0 drubbing by West Bromwich Albion was something of a freak.

He says of that occasion, when Liverpool started well before conceding a wonder goal and two penalties as well as having Daniel Agger sent off: "It was really unfortunate, in my short career as a manager I've never known a game like it." The opening match last season, when his newly promoted Swansea City side went down 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium, had a similarly harsh scoreline, but carried a lesson in the merciless economics of the big league, when the home team brought on as substitute Sergio Aguero, "who cost more than our stadium".

After three more games, Swansea had still not scored a goal and sat 19th in the table. Yet by the spring, a 1-0 victory in the return game with City carried them into the top half, where they were unfortunate not to finish.

That game still rankles with Roberto Mancini, although the managerial handshake at the end of it was accompanied by a knowing nod, as both men were aware they could have been on the same side.

When Rodgers was suffering the one dip in an otherwise upward trajectory of a career three years ago, having been sacked by Reading after only six months, he received an invitation to join City's coaching staff, travelling to Italy to discuss the idea with Mancini. But before terms could be discussed, the sort of opportunity he really craved came along: to be his own man at Swansea.

"[Manchester] City gave me my confidence back," he said on Friday. Admiration for the way he used it in taking the Welsh club into the Premier League and establishing them there was sufficiently widespread to reach Liverpool's American owners when they decided that Kenny Dalglish was yesterday's man and that tomorrow's was waiting on the Gower peninsular.

Reviving a club who had just finished eighth – Liverpool's lowest position for almost 20 years – would be a challenge whatever the method. Rodgers's chosen means, to have the whole squad playing possession football, does not make it any easier, yet to do otherwise would betray what he has always believed in.

"Our game is based on possession with penetration," is how he sums up what an early mentor, Jose Mourinho, would call his methodology. "Always looking to control the ball and dominate. The players have been absolutely fantastic. Even though Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have been involved at the club for many years, they are still really focused and excited about the future."

What of a newer hero, Andy Carroll? "There's been all this stuff about him not fitting in with my style and so on. But I want to go with three strikers and I've got Luis Suarez, Fabio Borini and Andy Carroll." Which implies the ponytailed one will be staying at Anfield.

There he will be joined by Nuri Sahin, not only an impressive capture as a loanee but one who preferred to join a club in the Europa League than take part in Arsenal's Champions' League campaign. The Mourinho connection may have helped in securing the Real Madrid midfielder, but the decision was ultimately the player's, and Rodgers's way of persuading him provides an insight into how he works: "I promise players three things. The first is my communication. I won't bluff players, I'll be totally honest and open with them.

"The second is that they'll become better, that the quality of work will improve them as players.

"And thirdly I promise ambition. I want to be the very, very best I possibly can. I grew from nothing into something through sheer ambition and work and determination. If they want anything else they have to go to another club."

And no hard feelings either, he insists of someone such as Gylfi Sigurdsson, who had been expected to follow him from Swansea to Anfield but chose Tottenham instead.

Ensuring Sahin, Germany's player of the year two seasons ago, did not also decamp to north London has naturally delighted Rodgers. "He's a very clever guy, he's done a lot of homework on myself as a manager and the club itself.

"The most important thing for me is the club's success, and if we can get top players in here, once we're striving to get back to where the club belongs after a lot of trauma here in the last few years, it's a great boost."

Liverpool v Manchester City is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 4pm

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
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

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
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game