LIVERPOOL launched a brand new strip at midnight on Thursday. According to manufacturers, Warrior, it has been designed using “a revolutionary apparel system at the heart of which lies Scafé, an innovative, antimicrobial fabric made with coffee grounds.”
Apparently it’s environmentally friendly, fast drying, assists with odour control and provides UV protection.
According to the new Liverpool manager it’s also very heavy.
Not literally, of course.
But metaphorically the red shirt can provide a weighty burden – and it’s why the new Reds boss is keen to enlist the help and support of two men who have worn the blood red shirt a total of 1,284 times.
Jamie Carragher’s next appearance will see him reach the 700 match milestone. Steven Gerrard’s next goal will be his 150th from his 585 appearances.
And Rodgers appreciates what is required to achieve that longevity.
“The jersey at Liverpool is much heavier than at many others,” he explained. “That’s why good players come in here, they put the jersey on and they maybe don’t quite perform then they go out again and they play well.
“People like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have borne the weight of that jersey for years and have performed admirably.
“Those guys will be very, very important going forward for me.
“I spoke with Steven Gerrard last night and had a good chat with him which was great. I phoned Jamie Carragher but he was in Dubai. But I’ve had a message back from him. We’ve just missed each other this morning.
“Steven was brilliant. He was fantastic. I don’t know him that well. I have come across him a couple of times briefly. He’s a top, world class performer and that’s why he has huge respect in my eyes.
“I’ve always had good relations with players and I don’t expect it to be any different here.”
Rodgers explained his philosophy for working with players.
“For me it’s simple,” he added. “I have three promises that I always bring into a club and it will be exactly the same here. First my communication is open.
“I speak with players and I speak with people and I respect people.
“Wherever they sit in the hierarchy of a club or an organisation, one thing they will get from me is that my door is open.
“The second thing I promise is quality . . . quality in my work.
“ I’ve studied for nearly 20 years to be the very best I possibly can and that’s taken me through making a difference with clubs, right the way through to coaching top players with Chelsea.
“Then I moved into management, so I haven’t taken an easy route.”
The one moment when that journey stalled came at Reading.
He was sacked just six months after taking over from Steve Coppell in December 2009, but Rodgers says he used that experience as a turning point in his career.
“I think I probably became more clinical after that,” he reflected.
“I went in there looking to change things maybe a little too quickly.
“I went in thinking the club wanted a new vision and a new philosophy and I thought if I stripped it down quickly and then let it build after that, then that would be okay.
“What I realised after that is that you are still in the business of winning.
“That is what we are here for ultimately. You talk about football and creativity and invention, but you’ve got to win games, as simple as that.
“That was very important to me in my reflection when I came away from Reading.
“When I went into Swansea I knew very well that I could still work very well the way I worked, with the same philosophy and the same identity, but I would have to get to the endpoint quicker – and that brought me the success that I had.
“So that six month period at Reading over the 20 years I’ve had playing, coaching and managing has been a great learning for me.
“Hopefully that will be the defining moment of my career.
“I’ve promised my work will be quality and the players will enjoy the work – and we’ll think that little bit differently about how we play.
“The third thing I promise is ambition. The most important thing is the club’s success.
“Of those three things, I can give no more. If the club or anyone else needs anything more I can’t bring it.
“But I will promise those three things.”
Rodgers is ready to hit the ground running at Anfield.
He spent yesterday morning conducting interviews for the television, radio and written media, then he headed straight off to Melwood for meetings with the club’s scouting staff.
“I need to get an idea of what the preparation phases are here,” he explained.
“When you work with big players like we had at one of my former clubs, the pre-season is broken because you have European Championships and the Olympics, so players will be arriving back at a different stages.
“Here there’s a tour and obviously the Europa League starts very quickly so there’s a lot of organisation. But that’s what my work is about – to prepare.
“We start looking today for new players. I’m meeting with the scouts this afternoon at Melwood and look at where we are at.”
Last summer it was Kenny Dalglish preparing the groundwork for a new season, and Rodgers was quick to acknowledge the debt he owes to his illustrious predecessor.
“Guys like Kenny Dalglish and the people before me were incredible men and that door will always be open for guys like that to come in. It’s my job now to continue that work.“For me I’ve got so much respect for Kenny Dalglish.
“”I will never replace Kenny Dalglish.
“That’s the reality of it. I can only be Brendan Rodgers and do the very best I can for the football club.
“This is the guy who was voted the best player in the history of Liverpool Football Club and who is a legend of a manager here and a fantastic man.
“So there’s not a race for me; that’s a race I’m sure I would lose.
“For me I want to prove my worth and prove my honesty and commitment to Liverpool Football Club.
“History judges you as a manager. That’s the reality of it. It won’t be now, it will be history. And I hope my history will allow me to work beside many of the great managers here.”