Rodgers counting on a fresh start to bring Liverpool back to the old days of success

Rodgers is preparing for his first game in charge of Liverpool, at Rogers Center in Canada, against Toronto FC. He expects a new start to lead to old successes.
On Saturday, Brendan Rodgers will lead Liverpool into a match for the first time. He's without a handful or two of key players – thank the Olympics, injury and Euro 2012-mandated rest – and the location, Rogers Center in Toronto, isn't ideal. "The pitch isn't so good," he said. But don't expect the hairs on Rodgers' neck to lay flat.

"Walking out on a matchday, even in preseason – every game for Liverpool is important," Rodgers said in a press conference. "For us as a club and as a team it's a new generation, it's a new start."

Fresh start, same lofty standards. Liverpool sunk to eighth in the Premier League last season, which helped slide Kenny Dalglish out the door. Club owner NESV, headed by John W. Henry, turned to Swansea City coach Rodgers.

"The objective for me is quite simple: I just want to build a squad that can compete," he said. Rodgers did admit Champions League ambitions "but I've been given no objective at all. My job is, I believe, to hopefully come in for the longer term and build a model of play and a model of work that allows the club to move year on year. That'd be the idea.

"For me it's a case of trying to put together a squad. The squad is, in terms of depth, it lacks numbers. That's the reality [of] where it's at."

Rodgers brushed aside questions about American star Clint Dempsey, claiming he doesn't discuss other clubs' players. Liverpool and Rodgers both previously confirmed making an initial inquiry to Fulham about the Texan, who scored 17 Premier League goals last season.

Instead, Rodgers happy talked up his latest signing, Fabio Borini. The Italian joined from AS Roma for 13.3 million euros plus bonuses. The 21-year-old and Rodgers previously overlapped at both Chelsea and Swansea, where Borini scored six goals in nine games in the Championship.

"He's a big talent, hence the reason I took him to here. I've worked [with] and known Fabio for a long time," the 39-year-old coach said. "He's a very talented player and he'll fit really well into our group. That will be the biggest thing for us. There will be no individual who's bigger than the team, and the team will be very important. Fabio will be an important member of that team."

The addition of Borini suggests that Rodgers will look to the same blueprint he followed to plenty of media acclaim at Swansea. That's his long-term leaning, suggests Rodgers, but perhaps not feasible this season.

"The game is ultimately based on your players. The principles of your game is based on your players," he said. "Of course that's how I work, but I won't expose players. If players are uncomfortable playing that way it's not something I will enforce onto them. I've always looked to the strength of the players and hopefully over time we can get that model of work.

"But what I've seen of the players so far I think they've enjoyed working that way. They've been fantastic with the football, but like I say it's just going to take that wee bit of time. We're football coaches and managers, not magicians."

Once that model is in place, club owners and Rodgers himself expect the Irishman to replicate the success of Liverpool's history. The Reds have won 18 first division titles in England and five European cups. What's it like to walk past a trophy cabinet that glutted every day at work?

"It doesn't frighten or daunt me. It just inspires and excites me," Rodgers said. "The history of this club is a real motivation for me."

Rodgers quickly bought into the ethos of the club.

"For me it's a way of life, being the manager here at Liverpool Football Club," he said. "Since the day I signed on the first of June, it's not just business for me or a game, it's a way of life."

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Rudi Schuller contributed additional reporting from Toronto