IT’S a fitting setting for Brendan Rodgers as he tries to impart his philosophy on the Liverpool squad he inherited.
Harvard University is one of the world’s most famous seats of learning. The list of old boys to have attended the prestigious Massachusetts institution includes the likes of Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.
And from next week it will be the Reds’ base as Rodgers looks to step up the club’s preparations for the new campaign.
Liverpool fly into Boston next Monday and will train at nearby Harvard’s state of the art facilities before heading for Canada to take on MLS side Toronto on July 21.
They will return to Boston ahead of the clash against Roma at Fenway Park on July 25 before concluding the tour with a friendly against Tottenham in Baltimore on July 28.
Rodgers believes the 12-day trip will be key to ensuring Liverpool are ready when the serious action begins next month.
“I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a very exciting trip for the football club. It was 2004 the last time the club ventured over to that region.
“There will be two objectives. First and foremost, it’s part of our preparation in terms of our training and work to get ready for the new season.
“But it’s good for me to see the players in a different light so team bonding and social bonding will be important.
“Ultimately, we will get judged by what we do on the field so it’s about trying to cover all bases technically, tactically, physically and mentally while we’re away.
“I had a friend who I’ve known for many years who went to Harvard University. I remember him telling me many years ago the one thing he learned when he first went into Harvard was about being ‘ruthlessly simple’.
“They’ve got great academics and a lot of very intelligent people that go to that university, but they were told to keep it simple. I think that is something that has always stayed with me throughout my work.
“It really is about being ruthlessly simple, on and off the field. It’s something I’ve carried with me over many years.”
Commercially, the tour offers benefits for Liverpool as they look to expand their fanbase across North America.
However, Rodgers believes the Reds also have a duty to travel across the globe to give supporters the chance to see their heroes.
“I think it’s very important for a club of this status,” he added. “You have to embark on these trips, it’s very important because we’ve got a worldwide audience.
“It’s great to take the football club to our worldwide supporters because it’s a club that’s a real footballing institution with many supporters not only here in Liverpool, but worldwide. It’s important for the supporters to feel close to the players.”
Gaining fitness rather than results will be the priority across the Atlantic but Rodgers admits he’s delighted with the three games which were scheduled prior to his appointment.
The highlight promises to be the meeting with Roma in Boston which forms part of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Having the Reds in the city will be a source of great pride for principal owner John W Henry and chairman Tom Werner who also own the Boston Red Sox.
“Our work is geared towards the games and we’ve got some very good games over there,” Rodgers continued. “When you’re at a club like Liverpool, every game is important – whether it’s a pre-season, testimonial, league or cup game. Ultimately, it is about building towards where we want to go. It won’t be perfect in pre-season, that’s for sure, but we’re looking to implement some of the principles and aims which we hope can take place tactically with the team. That will bare fruition as we progress through.
“Fenway Park is one of the most celebrated venues in American sport and I am looking forward to the whole experience. But there’s no pressure – not in a pre-season game!
“They (the owners) have been fantastic since the first day I met them. I think over the period of time, all the supporters and people will see they’re going to be great value to this club. They are very ambitious for the club.
“I think everyone is together as one to ensure we can bring back success to Liverpool. For them, it’s great for us to go over there and I’m sure they’ll really enjoy having us in Canada and America.”
A month into the job and having moved into a house in Merseyside last weekend, Rodgers is loving life at the helm. The Northern Irishman has only had around a dozen seniors players to work with at Melwood over the past week but it’s been a pleasing start for him.
“The transition for me coming in has been very smooth,” he added. “The people at the football club have been incredible and the people in the city have welcomed me – even Everton supporters!
“The players who are already back here have been fantastic. They’ve responded very well to what I’ve asked of them.
“It’s a privilege to be manager of this club and I’m very focused on the club as a whole. Moving forward I want to implement a way of playing which will be the Liverpool way.
“I will make mistakes but I’ll fight for my life to ensure we improve. It does take time as we’re football coaches, not magicians.
“I believe in the players we have here. If we all unite as one that can take us a long way.”