Episode Four of Being: Liverpool, the fly-on-the-wall documentary of Liverpool FC filmed at the start of the season, includes a snippet of a Brendan Rodgers’ team talk where he informs the players and staff present that he has the names of three of them written inside separate envelopes (see video). The names are of those he believes will let the team down over the course of the season because “they fight everything”. Rodgers promises that those envelopes will be opened at the end of the season. It’s only a vignette, but David Brent, it seems, is a non-fiction character and can be found plying his trade on Merseyside.
As thrillers go, waiting for The Grand Openings is hardly Hitchcockian in its level of suspense. Indeed, if he identified back in July three people who would hinder the performance of the team, surely he has gotten rid of them by now? That logic leads one to instantly consider the high-profile Andy Carroll, now on a season-long loan at West Ham. But Rodgers has been on record praising the commitment and work rate of the otherwise-maligned Carroll. The issue he has with the leaden-footed striker is more based on his perceived inability to fit into the speedy, harrying style of the team.
Perhaps Rodgers is referring to players on the fringes of the first-team; Stewart Downing and Luis Enrique, for instance? There’s really not much point in speculating.
In terms of motivational techniques, it could prove effective. But it’s a world away from the “just fookin’ run abarrrt” style of the old school. What would Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley have made of it? After their worst start to a league season for 101 years, it may already be time to question the new-age management guru-style techniques of Rodgers.
In fact, I’m going to say it: he’s a rich (American) man’s Aidy Boothroyd.