• Premier League

Lawro: Rodgers a 'big gamble' for Liverpool

ESPN staff
May 31, 2012 « Murray: My team wanted me to retire | Chartbeat test »

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson says appointing Brendan Rodgers as the club's new manager represents a huge risk from the Reds' American owners Fenway Sports Group.

Widespread reports claim Rodgers is set to sign a three-year contract at Anfield, with Liverpool parting with between £4 million and £5 million in compensation to Swansea.

Rodgers, who had coaching spells at Reading and Chelsea prior to landing the top job at Watford in 2008, led the Swans to 11th place in the Premier League this season. However, although Lawrenson has been impressed by what Rodgers has achieved since moving to the Liberty Stadium in 2010, the pundit admits managing Liverpool will be a leap into the unknown for the 39-year-old.

"It's a great appointment for him and the biggest gamble the club have taken in a long time," Lawrenson told the BBC. "Liverpool supporters will give him a chance. They will give him time. But if they don't look like finishing anywhere near top four, what do the owners do?"

Despite winning the Carling Cup and reaching the final of the FA Cup, former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish lost his job after a dismal league campaign ended with the Merseyside outfit finishing eighth.

And, although Lawrenson foresees Liverpool adopting an eye-catching brand of football under Rodgers, he has reservations over whether the new boss can meet the fans' high expectations.

"Rodgers has done a great job at Swansea, everyone loves the way they play their football," he added. "The chance for Brendan to manage a club which is in the top 10 in the country was too much to resist. It's a different challenge for him, the club will be expected to win every game.

"Liverpool spent an awful lot of money last season, there's no doubt they overspent. It's a big job for Rodgers because he'll be responsible for everything as there's no director of football. Swansea have lost managers before, Roberto Martinez went to Wigan. They're a very good and well-run football club."

Former Reds winger John Barnes says the club's fans must be patient and afford Rodgers the necessary time to bed in. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I always say that when you have a philosophy on football, you need the players who can instil that. Are they the type of players who can play the way Rodgers wants them to? They will have to have some adjustment.

"We have to give the situation time to develop. You have to come to a point where you can't keep changing managers year in, year out. It's been 20 years since we have won league. We've been chopping and changing. We need to do what is in the best interests of the club, even if that means we don't qualify for the Champions League in the next three years."

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