Brendan Rodgers with Mario Balotelli

Link: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/rodgers-built-liverpool-fc-plans-10747159

Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has admitted he signed Mario Balotelli because of the lack of options available to him – after he had spent the summer building his plans around Alexis Sanchez.

And he has also conceded the move was made at the will of owners Fenway Sports Group, rather than himself.

Rodgers went into the summer of 2014 having led his Liverpool side, inspired by Luis Suarez, within two points of the Premier League title.

But having lost Suarez to Barcelona in a £75m deal, the Northern Irishman conceded there was only one player he wanted to replace him.

Sanchez, however, moved to Arsenal in a deal worth £35m, and has gone on to score 22 league goals in 47 appearances for the Gunners.

Liverpool’s need for a striker led to the club signing Mario Balotelli in a £16m move – just weeks after Rodgers had publicly dismissed interest in the AC Milan man.

“We played AC Milan in a friendly in America because what we needed was a replacement for a player who could press from the top end of the field,” he said. “It wasn’t just a goalscorer we were after, Luis Suarez was giving so much more than that – the press and how we wanted to work.

“After the AC Milan game I was asked a question and he wasn’t someone I felt was suited or fitted the profile of what we were after.”

Despite personal reservations, Rodgers claimed it was FSG who believed Balotelli would be a good investment.

Speaking to Goals on Sunday, he added: “Come the end of summer, when we were struggling to get in the type of player we wanted for that role, the ownership thought this was a player I could maybe develop.

“He’s had issues Mario, he’s a wonderful talent and make no mistake. You see him on the training field every day, he’s six foot three, he’s fast, strong, has the touch.

“They thought this is a £50m player that they can bring in for £16m, and I can maybe develop him how I developed a few of the other players.

“When the owners want you to go down that route and there are no other options, you give it a go.”

Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool competes with Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal

Balotelli would have a torrid time at Anfield, scoring just four goals in 28 appearances.

The lack of goals in general would lead to a disappointing season overall, which saw the Reds finish sixth.

That, coupled with a plodding start to this season, saw Rodgers lose his job at Anfield.

The 42-year-old believes not signing Sanchez was a crucial point in his Liverpool career.

When asked if he wished he looked at Balotelli’s off-field reputation further, he said: “Those conversations do – and did – take place.”

He added: “Whenever the owners want you to have a go with the player, that’s my job, to manage the club. There were other conditions which meant we couldn’t get other players in.

“The huge blow for us was that we felt we could get Alexis Sanchez. We thought he was the like-for-like replacement, we thought he would be perfect for us how he pressed the game, how aggressive he was in his quality.

“We felt with Luis gone, we would get Sanchez in, it would be a smooth transition into the team – and we would bring in Rickie Lambert alongside him.

“Rickie was going to be an option for us, something else in the game, but it ended up we didn’t get him and unfortunately for Rickie the pressure fell upon him. That wasn’t the plan.

“He was someone to come into the game late on, or in the cups, but all of a sudden Sanchez doesn’t come in, we think Fabio Borini is gone, Daniel [Sturridge] has been injured and all of a sudden the only striker we have is maybe Rickie Lambert.

“At 32 years of age, going into a Champions League season, that’s not ideally what you need.”

lanoisseforp:

I thought this is an interesting article and I will share it here with you. Most of us Supporters were aware that Balotelli wasn’t Brendan Rodgers’ choice but FSG were thinking the future and that meant £34M profit from a £16M player. Balotelli is a good player but never suited our attacking system and he’s not to blame for signing up with us.

If the Transfer Committee really know how to sign players then why didn’t they tell Barcelona… £40M + Sanchez = Suarez. This where they messed up so we ended up losing 2 World Class players due to incompentence.

I do hope Klopp has the full reigns of the players he wants in and out. If not the future of Liverpool FC is very bleak and will end up as a mid-table club for many years to come. Profit comes before Liverpool FC and it breaks the heart.

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sandiphulse
Member

I was about to post this mate…. anyway, we will come to know if this will affect Klopp , feel extremely sorry for Rodgers …..

I don’t think Klopp can work like that, he will not work with a player because FSG said so, in Dortmund he might have not spent too much, but there he had to compete only with Bayern and a couple of other teams.

I can only see two reasons why the owners have decided to hire Klopp

1. They realized their mistakes and blamed it on Rodgers by firing him.

2. They hired Klopp to convert bang avg players into better players to stay competitive, summer window and next season will give us more insight in the situation , it is safe to write off this season …..

DB-99
Member

Sometimes I feel like we are a poisoned chalice. Klopp needs full reign over transfers and the team need alot of investment. The current crop of players are clearly not good enough and the way the club is run with this transfer committee and skimping on buying players has almost cemented ourself as a midtable team. the prospect of joining liverpool for top players is not a good one. Our last saving grace at the moment is Klopp’s power in pulling players. I feel like if he fails then we are well and truly done.

Realspanishred
Member

I was and still am a huge fan of Brendan Rodgers. This if true and I have no reason to disbelieve it confirms that Brendan got a raw deal from fsg and undeserved stick from the fans. On goals on Sunday he also said he thought we had signed Deli Allí,after spending 2hours speaking to the player who wanted to sign for Liverpool. All that was needed was for the club’s to agree a fee, the next thing he new Allí had signed for spurs. I can’t remember how much spurs paid but I’m sure it wasn’t an astronomical fee. So fsgs model of buying young players doesn’t ring true in this instance. And as lanoisseforp says why didn’t they tell Barca the deal for Suarez must include Sanchez. Incompetence springs to mind and they blamed Brendan.

ruzzos
Guest

Fsg can invest but so far majority of investments into players went opposite direction of what lfc needed.
Whatever happens I think nor BR or JK are fully responsible for the squad we have now. If once Fsg say: only manager has a right to choose players, Then we can say if he is fully responsible for the results.

Realspanishred
Member

Do any clubs give total control to the manager though. I always feel sorry for managers who get sacked especially after a few months. If a manager wants a specific player and the board refuse without reasonable grounds then they can hardly blame the manager.

Huytonian
Member

Very interesting. Managers can’t always have their own way with who to bring in. The club may not be able to afford them or the owners may not consider them value for money. But the manager should have a veto over anyone who the transfer committee or the owners want to bring in if they don’t think they can work with that player.

Koped49
Member

I don’t agree that the current crop of players are not good enough. So you are saying the count is not good enough, firmino will come good both theses players are still young, and ad we have seen with the count he is getting better year on year. I have said it before we just need a spine down the team. And we will be ok.

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