BRENDAN RODGERS admits he faces “an immense challenge” to restore Liverpool to the summit of English football but has vowed to lay the foundations for future success.
The Reds are facing up to a third successive season outside the Champions League and Rodgers doesn’t have the luxury of a huge transfer kitty to help bridge the gap. The Northern Irishman believes ground can be made up on their rivals by putting his blueprint for the club into action but warned that time and patience will be required.
“Of course the challenge is immense,” he said. “Let’s be under no illusion. The club and where it was at over the years – will any club ever do that again?
“That’s a big question. But I certainly think with a club of our status and value to the football world that we can go again. It’s going to take time. And whether it will be in my time, I’m not so sure. But I’m going to fight for my life – to try to get this model of play that hopefully can change the history of the club.
“The finances now involved in the game means it’s not just one or two clubs now. You look at the top six or eight clubs and financially what they have got. They are some of the superpowers of world football and we are competing with that. But it’s not all about money.
“I’m here to put the foundations in place. I want to systemise it and that’s as important for me as trophies. Of course, this is a club where trophies is what it has been about for many years. But aligned and running alongside that for me, it’s about putting in place a philosophy and a model that will see the club grow and that is equally as important.”
Having inherited a squad which finished eighth last season, 37 points adrift of champions Manchester City, Rodgers won’t make any bold predictions about what can be achieved in 2012/13.
He added: “Being competitive – that is the most important thing for me. To build a group that challenges.
“I know what we want to be in the next three or four years. We want to be up there challenging for those Champions League places, but like I say I’m not going to commit to any stupid statements now.
“It’s about the real world. The club finished sixth, seventh and eighth over the course of the last three seasons. Someone asked me the other day if I thought we could win the league, you know what I mean?”
Rodgers has already moved into a house in Merseyside and was spotted by fans enjoying a night out in Liverpool club Garlands last weekend.
“I won’t be in it every Saturday night I tell you! I probably won’t be in it for a few years yet,” he explained.
It’s all part of Rodgers’ desire to get to know his new surroundings and feel part of the city.
He added: “I think it’s important. I’m someone of the people really. I’m someone who respects people and understands that this is a way of life here at the football club.
“I’ve got many fantastic people who have given me a great welcome since I’ve been here and that’s why my family and I have got our home here already. I throw my life into the people.
“When I went to Swansea they put me under no pressure to move. I could have stayed in Reading and driven up every day.
“I was there every day from the off, to get a sense of the people and the passion, a sense of the real warmth of the place. That’s what’s made my transition to Liverpool very smooth. I feel as if I’ve been here a lot longer.
“I think that’s where there’s a real hand in glove fit here for both. It’s probably the right time for a manager like myself to come in. It’s been really good. People have been brilliant.”