Sunday, 15 September 2013

Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers shows his ruthless streak as he reveals why ... -

"We did everything we could to support him to be the best he could be. There was no rush for me to move Pepe out but I felt he needed competition so I had to bring in someone."

So far Mignolet, 25, and a Belgian international, has been outstanding. "I'd seen him over the last few years, he's adapted to the Premier League. He is a brilliant shot-stopper," Rodgers said. "John Achterberg, our Dutch goalkeeping coach, has been monitoring him for years.

"You see his presence, he is good with his feet, that is important, it is one of the big things I look for in my goalkeeper — the way he deals with the ball so when we have the ball we have 11 players not 10 outfield players and a goalkeeper. So he's comfortable with the ball at his feet, he makes saves and again I go back, he had the hunger to succeed. He was going to come from a really good club in Sunderland and prove he could be the number one goalkeeper here."

Rodgers has followed that philosophy of providing competition for his established stars all over the pitch, signing – for example – Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori to challenge Daniel Agger and, in particular, Martin Skrtel. There has been a need, he says, to provide a challenge to some players who simply expected to play.

"That is what drives you on," Rodgers explained. "If you are in a workplace and you know someone else is very good at their job and can challenge you and make you try to be the best you can be. Otherwise you get too comfortable.

"I won't wait six months to tell them what I know now. I'm not going to go around the houses with them.

"Players might not always like what you are telling them, but I have found that they always appreciate you to be honest with them."

That approach requires not just belief and honesty but a ruthless streak. "I don't think you can be a manager or a coach at the top level if you are always a nice guy," Rodgers said. "Maybe I'm different. But I don't see players as individuals with any great status. I don't see them as superstars who earn big money and live in big houses. I see them as people.

"Ninety-nine per cent of the time the best players are being told only the things they want to hear. Because of that, they never hear the kind of things that will do them good."

With Luis Suarez nearing the end of his suspension, and with Daniel Sturridge in such impressive form as a main striker, will Rodgers have to manage their desire to be the 'main man'?

"Neither of them will be the main man," he said. "This is based around a team. People were talking about Suarez being a one-man team last year, I kept saying we're not and if you look at the numbers clearly we are not. We want top players.

"This is a club where players get told where to play. We don't mollycoddle them, they are expected to come in and do a job. If they want to be the superstar, if they want to be the individual, they can go elsewhere."

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