• Premier League

Rodgers: Rebuilding for a title challenge begins today

ESPN staff
June 1, 2012

New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has stated his ambition to rebuild the squad for a Premier League title challenge after becoming the 18th manager in the club's history.

Rodgers was unveiled at Anfield on Friday, after Liverpool reached agreement with former club Swansea City over compensation, and immediately laid out his intention to uphold the traditions of the club and rebuild the squad to make it capable of challenging for the Premier League title.

"This is a long-term job," Rodgers said. "I want to defend the principles of this football club, which is attacking football with tactical discipline.

"It's been almost 20 years since they won the title - being realistic, we might not be ready now, but the process [towards that] begins today."

Rodgers admitted he was "very proud" to become only the third Irishman to manage Liverpool, and revealed that - although he initially rejected the chance to interview for the post - once it became clear that he was the first-choice of the Liverpool hierarchy it was not a difficult decision for him to leave Swansea.

"I always said I would only leave Swansea for a top club, but I would have to be the No. 1 choice," he noted. "At that time I was part of a process so I was happy to stay at Swansea, but then they came in again and I was that first target.

"Once I knew I was that No. 1 target, it was quite an easy decision."

Rodgers is only 39, but dismissed any suggestions that he might be too inexperienced for the role - citing the first spell in charge of his predecessor, Kenny Dalglish, who took over as player-manager when just 34 and went on to lead the club to multiple league and FA Cup victories.

"I may be young in age, but I have experience in terms of the game," he noted. "Footballers are footballers - they want to learn and want to be educated, and that's what I've done throughout my career."

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, who introduced Rodgers to the media, underlined the qualities that led the club to appoint the former Reading manager.

"He is a forward-thinking coach at the forefront of a new generation of managers, and he will bring to Liverpool a style of relentless attacking football," Werner said.

"I believe the supporters will immediately embrace Rodgers based on his attacking principles. He is an enormously intelligent man, and his dedication for improvement and commitment for coaching impressed us.

"Brendan was the only manager we made an offer to. He was our first choice, and our best choice."

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