The club may currently be thousands of miles away from its heartbeat, but a new era is about to be ushered in at Liverpool Football Club, one that is absolutely fundamental in shaping the club’s future over the next decade or so.
If that seems like hyperbole, you only have to look at Liverpool’s recent history. The Merseysiders may be the most successful club in the history of English football, but past glories are in danger of remaining just that and the fear among right-minded fans is that in a football climate where money is the be all and end all, Liverpool are being left behind.
Suffocated by the ill-fated regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the Reds have finished seventh, sixth and sixth in the three seasons since Rafa Benitez’s excellent side were runners up in 2009 and the end of the 2011/12 season had a feeling of year zero about it.
It made this summer a huge one for the football club and owners Fenway Sports Group have taken decisive action. Kenny Dalglish was correctly sacked and with owner John W. Henry playing the long game in a world of quick fixes and want-it-all-yesterday culture (and praying that UEFA strictly implement Financial Fair Play), the appointment of Brendan Rodgers is a smart move, if something of a calculated gamble.
With the Reds missing their Euro 2012 contingent (most notably Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll, Daniel Agger and Pepe Reina) plus losing Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy to the Olympics, it is a far from full strength Liverpool squad.
Rodgers worked wonders at Swansea City and not just in the manner of their play that has achieved so much praise. It must be remembered Rodgers achieved fantastic results with a modest group of players, which makes his promotion to Anfield a good fit.
Liverpool have a handful of excellent players but little else and Rodgers will be expected to get the best out of average fringe players as he stamps his authority on the club.
The Northern Irishman has made an impressive start, mixing realism with old-fashioned, Bill Shankly-style tub-thumping, but the proof will be in the pudding and results need to be acceptable in spite of transition.
Rodgers takes to the Liverpool dug-out for the first time against Toronto on Saturday as the Reds undergo a US tour, with bwin making them favourites to win the match at 11/25, while Toronto are priced at 19/4 and the draw is at 31/10.
Toronto are not pulling up any trees in the MLS and lie bottom of the Eastern Conference, but despite that I still think they could represent some value here.
Their fitness will be well above Liverpool’s and with the Reds missing their Euro 2012 contingent (most notably Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll, Daniel Agger and Pepe Reina) plus losing Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy to the Olympics, it is a far from full strength Liverpool squad.
As we know, what lies beneath the first team is not good enough and with Rodgers promising only 45 minute run-outs for all players, it will be a fractured Liverpool display with the onus on gaining match sharpness rather than winning.
As such, the 33/20 on Toronto to avoid defeat is worth a go, with returns of £53 on offer for anyone successfully backing this price with their free £20 bet for registering with bwin.
They might have little to play for domestically, but they have won three games on the bounce and will see Liverpool as a major scalp. Rodgers has his work cut out from now on if Liverpool are to retain this billing.
Recommended bet: Toronto to avoid defeat against Liverpool @ 33/20
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