It's pretty much over but the press conference, or at least that's what it feels like. Various outlets, with Kopsource being the most vocal, are saying that Brendan Rodgers is the new Liverpool manager on a three-year deal. The other buzz is that Louis Van Gaal is going to be brought in as sporting director, and the two have worked together before. While having a European legend hanging over your shoulder can't be the most comfortable situation, Rodgers probably has the confidence that he can get it done. And quite frankly, while it's not wrong to want a young, hungry manager to remake the play on the field, you would want someone with more contacts, experience, and feel for transfers to remake it off of it. So while it'll be a little weird, this is probably the way to go.
This will be the second time that Liverpool have opted for a manager from a mid-table side to take over, even though at the time of hiring Liverpool were also a mid-table side. But the similarities between the two pretty much end there. Roy Hodgson's success was built on a rigid, disciplined system that never found a home with fans and players who wanted something more expansive. Rodgers certainly brings the latter, though who knows how long it'll take to implement. Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing trying to play his intricate style should be a treat. Then again, would seem Alberto Aquilani would fit in with it perfectly (hint...hint). Secondly, Hodgson came in with an ownership in turmoil. While some fans haven't warmed up to FSG, they are not drowning in debt, are not fighting with each other, and actually have a clue on how to run a sports organization. These are bright guys, miles ahead of the simply dunderhead duo of the past. Thirdly, Hodgson's main new additions over that summer were Joe Cole, Jovanavic, and Paul Konchesky. Van Gaal and Rodgers will have the freedom to bring in signings with the potential for far more impact -- I'd love it to be Clint Dempsey but he's got his eyes on bigger fish. But y'never know.
Everyone had their opinions on the manager's search. Everyone who had reservations about Rodgers certainly had a case. But he is more trained in the ways of the continent than other young, British managers. He's worked with Jose Mourinho. He brings in a style that if he can successfully implement at Liverpool will provide us with the most entertaining football to watch since probably before Houllier (aside from that brief dalliance with hard drugs in the spring of '09). There will be a Director with more medals in his case than anyone at the club, and the knowledge that brings.
It hasn't been fun to get here. There have been a lot of bumps. It's been sobering. But I think I'm going to go ahead and declare this a good day for Liverpool FC, and a day to help move forward. I have to. It's what we do.
Update: There's some conjecture as to whether Van Gaal is coming at all, with some claiming that Rodgers wouldn't take the job with him in place. We'll just have to wait and see.