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The Reds are set to make a second approach for the Northern Irishman as he becomes the owners' first choice ahead of Wigan manager Roberto Martinez

By Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

Brendan Rodgers has emerged as the leading candidate to become new Liverpool manager as the Reds prepare a second formal approach for the Swansea boss.

The Northern Irishman appears to have become the favourite of Reds’ owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) to take the role in the last few days.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez had been in pole position after meeting John W Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner, in Miami last Thursday. The Spaniard, however, increasingly appears to have fallen to second choice behind Rodgers and is now likely to stay at the DW Stadium or accept a job offer from Aston Villa.

Rodgers, 39, held talks for two hours with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins on Tuesday as Liverpool’s interest intensified, although the Welsh club insisted the manager’s future was not discussed.

The Swans are now braced for another approach from the Anfield club over the vacancy after Rodgers initially rejected their interest two weeks ago. At that stage, he wanted to avoid appearing disloyal to Swansea while the Reds had a long list of candidates, but now he is perceived as a genuine frontrunner.
Rodgers wanted to avoid appearing disloyal to Swansea while the Reds had a long list of candidates, but now he is perceived as a genuine frontrunner

FSG have come in for criticism for conducting a high-profile search for a new boss since sacking Kenny Dalglish, but are now closing in on an appointment with Rodgers ready to take the role should it be offered.

It is understood the former Reading boss is more amenable to working within the club’s management structure than Martinez, who wanted more control of football matters and indicated he would be reluctant to work under Dutchman Louis van Gaal as director of football.

Both Martinez and Rodgers fit in to FSG’s vision for a young, dynamic manager who is capable of introducing a footballing ethos which runs through all levels at the club.

Rodgers caught the eye last season as he guided Swansea to an 11th place finish in their debut season in the Premier League, earning praise from rival fans and managers for his commitment to possession-based football.

Martinez, meanwhile, is believed to be frustrated that his prospects of landing the job have waned after being favourite to take over at the start of the recruitment process.

The 38-year-old feels ready for a new challenge and, if Liverpool appoint Rodgers, he will once again become a hot favourite to replace Alex McLeish at Aston Villa.

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