Brendan Rodgers success at Liverpool isn’t surprising, says Chris Kamara
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Kamara isn't surprised by Brendan Rodgers' success at Liverpool after climbing Kilimanjaro with him
Chris Kamara admits he isn’t surprised by Brendan Rodgers’s success after being impressed by the Liverpool manager during a charity trek up Kilimanjaro in 2011.
The former Portsmouth midfielder joined the then-Swansea City manager in a party of eight that climbed to the summit of Africa’s most formidable mountain after the 41-year-old had achieved promotion to the Premier League.
As a result, Kamara was afforded the unique opportunity to discuss all things football with the Antrim man during the eight-day mission, getting to grips with Rodgers’s footballing philosophy.
It was really, really interesting for someone like me who just loves talking about football. We spent hours upon hours and days upon days just talking about football
That mantra has proven successful at Liverpool, with the Reds currently second in the Premier League table thanks to a remarkable improvement on their eighth-place finish last season.
“I had the good fortune of climbing Kilimanjaro with Brendan Rodgers [in 2011] for nine days,” Kamara told The Sport Review.
“We chatted football and his football philosophy, how he felt his teams would play, how he would set his teams out and the pattern of his teams.
“It was really, really interesting for someone like me who just loves talking about football. We spent hours upon hours, and days upon days just talking about football.
“I knew then he was going to be successful. He nurtured a [Swansea] team that had been put together by other managers and put his system into place and everything proved effective.
“At Liverpool, it is the next level with better players and a bigger football club but he is having the same effect.”
Rodgers endured a tough start to his Liverpool reign after replacing Reds legend Kenny Dalglish in May 2012, failing to win any of his opening five games in charge.
Liverpool’s fortunes have changed dramatically since then, with the Reds able to go top of the Premier League table with five games remaining if they beat West Ham United on Sunday.
And Kamara has been impressed by Rodgers’s strength of character to more or less stick to his philosophy despite some difficult moments at the start of his reign.
It would be a bigger mountain to win the Premier League that’s for sure!
“When he first went in, Liverpool lost a lot of goals with centre-halves overplaying or making the wrong decisions, but he never changed when that happened,” Kamara continued.
“It was a case of ‘don’t worry about it, the more we practice this, the better we’ll get and make less mistakes and concede fewer goals in terms of losing possession’.
“He knew the Liverpool crowd was educated in that and it wouldn’t be a problem with them, but it was the players and choosing the right options. It is fair to say that it has worked at Liverpool.”
So how does Kamara rate Rodgers’s chances of ending Liverpool’s 24-year wait for the top-flight crown? Well the former Bradford City boss views the Reds’s as second favourites behind Manchester City.
And showcasing his trademark humour by hastily adding: “It would be a bigger mountain to win the Premier League that’s for sure!”