Rodgers praise for Liverpool owners

16 January 2014 05:47

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists American owners Fenway Sports Group 'define leadership' when it comes to running a football club.

Southampton are the latest Premier League side to be thrown into turmoil by boardroom wrangling after chairman Nicola Cortese resigned following a disagreement with owner Katharina Liebherr.

That is an all-too familiar scenario at Anfield where internal battles, politicking and point-scoring between former manager Rafael Benitez, senior figures and previous American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett contributed to the club being brought to its knees just over three years ago.

FSG bought the club when financial pressures pushed Hicks and Gillett to breaking point and while the wrangling subsequently continued in the courts, things are now on a much more even keel.

Principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner are on Merseyside this week to check on their investment and take in the home game against Aston Villa.

Rodgers will have discussions with them not only about strengthening his squad and the chances of securing a return to the Champions League, but also the health of the club in general.

"We have regular contact anyway, this is nothing more than them coming over to look at the developments of the club," he said.

"There is no motive for them coming over only to see the club they own.

"We'll go for a meal, talk about Liverpool and that will cover everything: transfers, where players are at in their development and the overall club.

"They've brought real strong leadership and vision, which I think is important.

"They took over a club a few years back which was in disarray in terms of ownership and stability and they were one of the main principal reasons I came to the club because of the vision they had.

"When you talk about leadership, they define leadership.

"They have shown that in other businesses they have run (the Boston Red Sox baseball team being their other major sporting involvement) in terms of having a vision and a strategy in order to get there and allowing a manger to come in and manage that process.

"They have been brilliant from a personal level and hopefully they get their rewards over the next number of years."

Rodgers and Henry may discuss the January transfer window but the manager knows the chances of bringing in real quality this month may be slim.

That does not mean Rodgers does not have targets or FSG are not willing to spend the money, just that it may not be worth doing so in such a truncated period.

"There are no real developments yet," said Rodgers, who is interested in Basle forward Mohammed Salah but is not willing to pay the price his club are asking.

"We have been working for a number of months on possibilities which can strengthen the team and we need to see how that goes over the next couple of weeks.

"I'm not concerned. The owners have been great in terms of if there is something there to be done that will help us, then I am sure they will support that.

"I just think it is one where it will be a difficult market to improve on but it certainly won't be for a lack of trying.

"We are assessing a whole raft of players, it is just a question of whether they are going to be available to bring in now."

Rodgers is looking at getting summer signing Tiago Ilori some game time on loan, however, although youngster Jordon Ibe seems less likely to be given the same opportunity despite Rodgers suggesting last month he could also be loaned out.

"It is something we will look to do with young Tiago," said the Reds boss of his 20-year-old £7million signing from Sporting Lisbon who has yet to make his debut and has featured in only three matchday squads this season.

"He has come in and now knows what Liverpool is about and the standards required.

"It has been difficult for him in terms of game time because he hasn't played, but he has come in and shown the profile of player we thought he would be.

"We will look to get him a loan period now. He needs to be playing.

"Jordon Ibe is a boy who is in and around the squad so we are balancing him at the moment.

"He has been outstanding in training having been out for a few weeks with injury.

"He is a young player who is learning all the time and is in no rush to go out.

"At some point we will need to get him regular game time to push him forward as he can be a great player for us for the future."

Source: PA