“If you can’t press, you can’t be a part of the team. It doesn’t matter who the player is.”
January 24, 2015
There was much bemusement on Twitter when Brendan Rodgers’ press conference filtered through onto the internet after Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Bolton Wanderers on Saturday evening. Oddly it had nothing to do with a disappointing result and a below-par performance against limited opposition at home. Instead it was about someone who played no part in the game, and was neither on the bench nor in the stadium.
The above quote may look confusing without context, but there’s no mistaking who Rodgers was talking about. The man he “categorically” denied would be a Liverpool player last summer, yet arrived as a £16 million marquee signing in the last week of August only weeks later. A man whose footballing ability he proceeded to laud widely in the media, while pleading caution with his reputation and persona. He was, it felt, another project for the Irishman; a young wayward man ready to be groomed into an upstanding member of society.