Champions League

Rodgers out to topple idol Guardiola

2016-09-27 09:54
Brendan Rodgers (Getty Images)

Cape Town - In Celtic's Champions League clash with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Wednesday, Brendan Rodgers will pit his wits against a man who has had a defining influence on his career.

Whether with Swansea City, Liverpool or Celtic, Rodgers has sought to emulate the kind of passing football with which Guardiola took first Barcelona and then Bayern Munich to the summits of the game.

"I've admired him from the outside looking in, at the courage he has showed to play the modern game," Rodgers told Spanish sports newspaper AS in 2014.

"His love and passion (for) football, his great principles and ideas and the confidence he gives to people."

Jose Mourinho gave Rodgers his first big leg-up in professional football, inviting the Northern Irishman, then working in the academy at Reading, to join him at Chelsea in 2004.

But it is Guardiola, Mourinho's nemesis, whose example Rodgers has always strived to follow and it was in Guardiola's native Spain that his ideas about how to play the game took shape.

Rodgers, 43, is an exponent of the joined-up coaching philosophy practised by clubs like Barcelona, where youth players are taught to play in the same possession-focused way as the first team.

Prior to joining Mourinho at Chelsea, he spent time touring Spanish clubs - Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla - to learn about their development of young players.

The Spanish influence was apparent at both Swansea and Liverpool.

Luis Suarez, the former Liverpool striker, says Rodgers spoke to him in Spanish when they first met and the Uruguay international appreciated the Spanish touches in Rodgers's approach.

"You could see a Spanish influence in the way that Brendan worked," Suarez, now of Barcelona, wrote in his autobiography.

"He was interested in Spain, he had studied there and what he'd learnt there was at the heart of our style of play.

"Passing, pressuring high, quick movement, arriving into the area rather than standing there waiting for it, coming inside from wide positions."

STERLING GRATITUDE

Rodgers's playing philosophy took a Liverpool team spearheaded by Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to the brink of the Premier League title in 2014, but in a roundabout way, it also proved the team's downfall.

It was while dropping between the centre-backs to collect the ball in the manner of Barcelona's Sergio Busquets that Steven Gerrard succumbed to the slip against Chelsea that cost Liverpool the title.

Later that year, with Liverpool toiling in the league, Rodgers looked to Guardiola for ideas again.

Adopting the 3-4-2-1 playing system that Guardiola had introduced at Bayern, Rodgers inspired his team to a run of 10 wins and three draws that rejuvenated their season.

Rodgers's commitment to passing football has not gone unnoticed by Guardiola.

"I don't think there is any doubt about Brendan's quality," the City manager said last month.

"He was closer than anyone in the last 25 years to winning the Premier League at Liverpool and he has a lot of experience."

Guardiola, 45, has been praised for revitalising Raheem Sterling this season, but the England winger also remains grateful for the guidance he was given by Rodgers during their three years at Liverpool.

"He was massive for me," Sterling said this week.

"Every manager that I've worked with, I've tried to learn as much as I can, and he's one that I definitely learnt a lot off. Credit to him, he was a fantastic guy.

"Playing me in different positions, making me understand the roles and maturing in certain systems. He gave me a lot of confidence as well."

Looking to rebuild his reputation at Celtic after being sacked by Liverpool a year ago, Rodgers saw his new side dealt a humiliating 7-0 defeat by Barcelona on their opening Group C outing.

At Glasgow's Celtic Park on Wednesday, against the man who laid the foundations for the present-day Barcelona, Rodgers has another chance to prove all those years of Spanish homework were not in vain.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 03 October 2018
PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Schalke 04, RZD Arena 18:55
Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.