CRAIG BELLAMY believes Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool could be a “match made in heaven” – but Cardiff City could tempt him away from the new regime at Anfield.
The 32-year-old secured a return to the Reds last summer on a free transfer from Manchester City and is preparing to start the new season under his third different Liverpool manager after Kenny Dalglish was replaced by Rodgers at the start of this month.
Bellamy says the Northern Irishman is deserving of his chance to take the reins following his success with Swansea City where he took the south Wales club into the Premier League and then kept them up last season.
The Swans’ rivals Cardiff lost out in the Championship play-offs but with fresh investment in the Bluebirds, reports suggest they could be ready to launch a bid for Bellamy.
Bellamy spent a season on loan with his hometown club in the 2010-11 campaign, where he captained the side, but still has a year remaining on his contract at Anfield.
Although showing signs of excitement about the new era on Merseyside, Bellamy has admitted he was often a frustrated onlooker with Liverpool last season, particularly in home league games.
But his time on the sidelines allows Bellamy, who scored nine times last season, to offer a different take on Liverpool’s campaign which saw a Carling Cup victory but frustrating Premier League form.
“First of all, he is a very good guy, a very, very good guy,” he said of Rodgers. “Secondly, he knows his football.
“What he has done at Swansea is nothing short of remarkable. Swansea had it in place because Roberto Martinez built a structure. So everything around the club was brilliant for Brendan Rodgers – but didn’t he grasp it and stamp his authority on it/
“Liverpool is not that far away from having that structure. He knows he’s coming into one of the most remarkable football clubs in the world but it is a chance he deserves. I feel if he can approach this job in the way he did at Swansea then it will be a match made in heaven.”
Bellamy, who first joined Liverpool in 2006 when Rafa Benitez signed him from Blackburn Rovers, added: “It was a nice moment when I signed again, I really enjoyed it.
“It was a strange season. I think I only started three games at Anfield so got to watch a lot of games, which wasn’t great for me.
“But I can have a very, very good assessment of the team because I didn’t play, so was watching as a fan. There were so many games we should have won and deserved to have won.
“We won the League Cup which was very important to us and we deserved to win that cup. Although we were a bit fortunate in that we won on penalties we deserved to win the game.
“We got to the FA Cup final and didn’t particularly play as well on the day but part of that was beating Everton in the semi-final – that was like a final to us. It put a lot of stress on us as a team. We were fully aware of the effects a defeat would’ve had on the club.
“We got to another final, but the league form, points wise, was nowhere near what we deserved, but that’s just my opinion.
“Finishing eighth is not good enough. We have no given right to be finishing in the top four. There are a lot of clubs investing very big now.”
Bellamy says having a previous stint at the club has helped him during his second spell. The Welshman believes that it can take 12 months to get up to speed with life at Anfield and has backed a trio of big money signings to come good this season.
“We bought young players. I believe that when you play for a club like Liverpool, one or two players have found it difficult,” he said. “I already had the experience of being here before so that helped.
“Up to Christmas was brilliant for me and January and February was great. I was really aware of what the club was about. Some of the other players came for a lot of money and struggled with the club.
“But they are really good players and I believe next season that Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll will do very well. They have too much ability not to. Sometimes you need a year at a club like Liverpool.”