IF LIVERPOOL end their tour of North America on a high in the scorching heat of Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium today it won’t be their first triumph over Tottenham this summer.
The Premier League rivals have already gone head to head once in recent months and there was only one winner. When Spurs chairman Daniel Levy decided he was going to terminate Harry Redknapp’s reign he set his sights on taking Brendan Rodgers to White Hart Lane.
An approach was made to the Swansea City manager and with Rodgers also aware of Liverpool’s interest in his services, he soon found himself with a big decision on his hands.
On the face of it Levy must have fancied his chances of coming out on top. Spurs’ squad certainly boasts the much greater depth and the Londoners have finished above Liverpool in each of the past three seasons.
Only Chelsea’s shock Champions League final triumph denied Tottenham a place in this term’s competition.
But Rodgers turned his back on the prospect of life in the capital to take on the challenge of succeeding Kenny Dalglish. That’s testament to Liverpool’s enduring appeal as well as Rodgers’ belief that the greater potential for improvement lies at Anfield.
Simply the fact that the Spurs job was becoming vacant must have been a source of concern for the Northern Irishman. After all Redknapp inherited a team in the drop zone and lifted them to eighth, followed by finishes of fourth, fifth and fourth in the subsequent campaigns, but still got the bullet. What more did Spurs reasonably expect?
In contrast Liverpool’s squad drastically under-achieved last season. Eighth with 52 points was a dismal return considering the sizeable outlay on new recruits.
Rodgers believes by working with those he inherited and installing his system of play he will put the Reds firmly on an upward curve. The new boss has been promised time by Liverpool’s owners which is something he wouldn’t have got at White Hart Lane.
Rodgers doesn’t have the luxury of a huge transfer kitty to speed up his Anfield revolution.
With the owners determined to adhere to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, Liverpool must live within their means. That means a fund of around £25million for this window plus whatever can be generated by sales.
Getting back in the Champions League and commercial deals – like the one announced with American car firm Chevrolet this week which is worth £2million per year – are key to future investment.
It’s a huge challenge facing Rodgers but fans should be buoyed by the fact that Liverpool got their man. By having to settle for Andre Villas-Boas, it’s Spurs who took the much greater gamble this summer.