NEW LIVERPOOL MANAGER Brendan Rodgers says he is prepared to scour the lower leagues to find hidden gems for the Merseyside club, and that he will not be a ‘snob’ about which players he picks.
The Northern Irishman was named as Kenny Dalglish’s replacement on Friday and immediately set about explaining his vision for turning the club’s fortunes around.
Rodgers pointed to the Reds’ history of finding talent in the lower leagues and turning them into worldbeaters, and says that can still be achieved despite the money flowing through the higher echelons of the Premier League.
“If there’s any club that shows what it’s about in terms of giving people a chance, I always thought that was Liverpool,” the 39-year-old told Talksport on Saturday.
“If you look back over the years, that was a big thing at Liverpool. They brought in hungry players from England, Scotland, Ireland, put them together, made them the core figures in the club.
“Because those players came from a slightly lower level, they were hungry to go in and they worked their socks off and have success. In the modern day, money can distort the reality, and spending £30m and £40m on a player doesn’t always work.
“I bought a boy (at Swansea) called Michel Vorm, from Utrecht, for £1.5m and people were looking at it and saying, ‘we’ll need something else.’ He’s proved to be one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League.
“For me it’s about talent, opportunity and hunger and, if they’ve got that, I’m not a snob to where they’ve come from.”
Rodgers also said that he plans to lift the pressure from the players on to his own shoulders next season, with the aim of turning back into a fortress once again.
Liverpool only won six home games out of 19 last season.
“When you come to a club like this the shirt weighs much heavier than any other. The expectation – and the weight of expectation – is phenomenal,” he added.
“My job next year is to try to lift some of that weight off the shirt. I’ll take the pressure.
“The players can just focus on performing and if you do that you will get the result eight or nine times out of 10 because of talent.
“That will be the same for Andy and any other player. Then we’ll take time to review where we’re at and look forward.”