Nearly man Brendan Rodgers can be a Liverpool legend at last if Leicester can deny Manchester City
- Leicester City could ruin Manchester City’s hopes of retaining the title
- New manager Brendan Rodgers could do his old club Liverpool a favour
- Manchester City will win the title if they win both of their remaining games
It is curious to contemplate that for all the fine work Brendan Rodgers did while Liverpool manager, he might only get real gratitude from Anfield now he is in charge of another club.
By twist of fate Rodgers is central to the most credible chance Liverpool have to lift this season’s Premier League. Should his Leicester team deny Manchester City victory at the Etihad on Monday, Rodgers will hand his successor Jurgen Klopp an advantage.
Rodgers is doing nothing to play on sentiment. His focus, he says, is on Leicester and trying to continue the impact of his arrival at the King Power. He is not doing anything on behalf of Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers can do his old club Liverpool a favour if Leicester can stop Manchester City
Manchester City will win the Premier League if they win both of their remaining games
But it seems inevitable that, should Leicester leave the Etihad with a draw or more, his mind will register a note of satisfaction regarding his former club. A point proved perhaps. Though he is yet to receive any messages of encouragement from Merseyside it is easy to imagine his phone pinging in that event.
Of comfort to Klopp is that Leicester are in fine form, turning in a season’s best display to beat Arsenal 3-0 last Sunday, and have a good record against City. They won at the Etihad on the way to becoming champions in 2016 and have defeated Pep Guardiola’s side twice in the last three years.
‘It’s exciting to be involved [in the title race] but my thoughts are solely with Leicester and doing what we can to get a result,’ said Rodgers.
‘You know you have to defend very well, be strong and aggressive and compact, but from the base we have the speed and incision to make the last pass.’
Jamie Vardy has 11 goals and 11 games, and will be a big threat to Manchester City
Jamie Vardy has been doing that. He has 11 goals in 11 games and rises to the big occasion. He has scored five times against City since reaching the top flight. ‘Jamie is a natural goalscorer,’ Rodgers said. ‘Tactically, he’s so clever.’
Leicester will certainly be more measured than Liverpool were five years ago. Back then they let slip a three-goal lead at Crystal Palace, prompting Rodgers to concede the title to City. The enduring image is of Luis Suarez collecting the ball from the back of the net after Liverpool’s third goal and running to the centre circle to get the game re-started, in the misguided hope that City’s superior goal difference could be bridged.
The 2-0 loss to Chelsea the previous week was the crucial result, however. ‘That was the game which changed it for us, the Crystal Palace game was irrelevant,’ Rodgers said at his Leicester unveiling. ‘I feel it was a tough end for us. What I hope I provided was talent.’
Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho all improved with Rodgers and left for major money that was reinvested in Klopp’s squad. Rodgers believes that is the big difference between his Liverpool team and this current version.
Brendan Rodgers did good work at Liverpool, but can become a legend if Leicester win
Rodgers said: ‘I was there at a time when everything was based on potential. Raheem was 17, Philippe was 19, we had loan players like Aly Cissokho.
‘I think what Liverpool have done really well in the last couple of seasons is recognise that if there’s a gap in the squad and you really need it, you’ve got to pay for quality.
‘In my time there, and Jurgen’s early time, the talk was about defence. What do you do? Bang, put in a £75million player and a world-class goalkeeper and it changes the whole dynamic.
‘When I went in there over £30million had to come off the playing budget. We were eighth and losing players like Maxi Rodriguez, who was a top class player. The strategy was to bring through a younger team and try to evolve it from there. If you look at it now it’s about investment and they’re doing very, very well.’
Three-and-a-half years after leaving, it would be neat if Rodgers now assists in delivering the title for Liverpool.
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