As a former Chelsea coach, Brendan Rodgers looked at the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo in midweek and thanked his lucky stars and his current employers at Liverpool for the support he claims to be receiving. Even after each disappointing result in the first three months of the season there has been an encouraging message from the club's American owners.
"The support I've had from them has been terrific," he said ahead of today's return to Swansea, the club he left with reluctance to take on the Liverpool challenge. "They've been true to their word because when I came in they had a clear understanding of where they wanted to go with the club. We got rid of a host of players in the summer, senior players, and obviously we've looked to mould together a younger group and try and establish something and keep it moving forward. Even after we've lost games, I've maybe woken up in the morning and got a message, an email, saying, 'Listen, you're doing a fantastic job, it will take time'."
Fantastic may not be the word that leaps to mind for Liverpool supporters as they study the League table with their team in the bottom half, a point behind Swansea. They finished above the Welsh club last season despite losing the final match of the campaign at the Liberty Stadium, which proved to be the last in charge of the respective sides for Rodgers and Kenny Dalglish, who soon made way for him.
Ahead of his first return to Swansea Rodgers is as fulsome in his praise for the club chairman, Huw Jenkins, as for the Liverpool board, and admits that the tradition and philosophy of good football was established long before he went to Wales after being sacked by Reading. "The foundations were already in place at Swansea. There was a philosophy in place. They have played good football for many years going back to John Toshack and Brian Flynn. They might have been at a lower level but they were always a club that played good football. Kenny Jackett did a good job there and Roberto [Martinez] came in when they moved to the new stadium and put a different template on it. So Huw has brought in young, hungry managers that believe in a certain way of playing. The chairman and the board believe in good football. That was in place and I was able to move it on a few stages, keep it going forward."
His means of moving forward at Liverpool have included introducing teenagers to the side who, along with their elders, will soon have the services of a sports psychologist available. In the meantime, the owners' own bit of psychology by text and email keeps Rodgers positive, whatever the League table says.
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