Liverpool is a huge challenge, Bellamy warns Rodgers
SINGAPORE: Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy has welcomed the expected managerial appointment of Brendan Rodgers, but warned the Northern Irishman he faces a massive challenge at the five-times European champions.
Liverpool are scheduled to hold a news conference later on Friday (0900 GMT) where they will unveil the 39-year-old former Swansea City boss as the man to revive the fortunes of the 18-times English champions.
While Swansea impressed in their debut Premier League season under Rodgers with an attractive, ball-retaining style, Liverpool supporters have voiced concerns whether he has the stature for one of England’s most illustrious sides.
While fans may have yearned for a high profile appointment such as Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho or departing Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, Bellamy believes they should be pleased with their new coach.
“I think they have made a very good appointment in Brendan Rodgers, I really do,” Bellamy told reporters in Singapore on Friday as he unveiled the team’s new kit for the coming season.
“He is very good guy as well, speaks well, knows his football, and he has proven himself.”
Having had his playing career end prematurely through injury, Rodgers went into coaching and was made youth team coach at Reading before Mourinho brought him to Chelsea in 2004 as a member of his backroom staff.
He left Stamford Bridge to take over as manager at Championship (second division) Watford, where he finished mid-table, before a brief and disappointing spell at Reading and then his successful move to South Wales.
Having won promotion to the Premier League in his first season with Swansea and with his links to Mourinho, still adored in England for his successes with Chelsea and bullish persona, Rodgers received many plaudits and was regard as one of the brightest young managers plying their trade in England.
But that does not always translate to guaranteed success.
“Liverpool is a huge, huge challenge. No disrespect to Swansea but this is Liverpool football club it certainly isn’t Swansea,” Bellamy, 32, warned Rodgers.
“So it is going to be a big test for him, but to me, if you know football, you know football, it doesn’t matter what club you go to.”
Rodgers also faces the tricky task of succeeding Kenny Dalglish, one of the club’s most revered talents, having won league titles as a manger and player at Anfield.
However, his second spell lasting just 18 months and ending in May, was an opinion splitting one.
He won praise for ending the club’s six-year wait for a trophy when they won the League Cup in February, but sixth and then eighth place league finishes as great rivals Manchester United overtook them to win a record 19th title were heavily criticised.
Expensive signings such as Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing failed to deliver, while his tactics were criticised in the FA Cup final loss to Chelsea. But despite the issues, Bellamy was disappointed Dalglish departed.
“What he means to Liverpool Football Club is just indescribable and to be signed by him and to play for Liverpool Football Club under Kenny Dalglish was probably, truly, the greatest honour I have ever had in football.
“Usually you get what you deserve in football, if you finish eighth you deserve to finish eighth but I thought there was a lot of games this season where we were very, very unfortunate.”