By James Watkins
Fox Soccer Channel’s
extended advertisement documentary Being: Liverpool premiered Sunday, taking us behind the scenes of the legendary club. Check back every Monday for a recap of our favorite moments from each episode.
There’s an awful lot of Lucas love out there from Liverpool supporters. The gaping hole that his injury left in the midfield is only equaled by the hole in our hearts at watching him be stretchered off in that Carling Cup tie against Chelsea — and again in the Manchester City match several weeks ago. We can sing songs and send well wishes over Twitter, but Paulo Barreira is the only one who gets to show the Brazilian how much he really cares.
Worst job at the club: Yoga instructor
I’m not sure what was better: watching a 34-year-old Jamie Carragher
attempt to balance on one foot, or watching him try to keep a straight face while doing it. Either way, it makes for fantastic television. Let’s just hope that the players are more open to Rodgers’ tika-taka system than they are to the spiritual and mental disciplines of the ancient Indian tradition.
2. Even if you were raised with a “silver shovel” rather than a “silver spoon,” with a little hard work, you too can grow up to reward yourself by mounting a massive self-portrait on the wall of your new home.
Some have suggested the painting reveals an underlying egotism to Brendan Rodgers’ character, but I can only assume that it’s there to intimidate his daughter’s “special friend,” and any other potential suitors. Protective fathers and older brothers take note.
3. Nothing screams “cultural differences” like watching Bobby Valentine and Brendan Rodgers exchange jerseys at Fenway.
Bobby: And to the skipper…and we’re doing number 12 and…I like this, ya know. Eh? That’s you. So we’re gonna make a little presentation, this way…on the Red Sox. Thanks for being here. Brendan Rodgers guys.
Brendan: Just on behalf of all our players and Liverpool Football Club, it’s obviously a pleasure and a privilege for us to be at one of the most historic baseball grounds in all of America…so I think on behalf of ourselves, Liverpool …”
For a more straightforward contrast between British and American accents – please do yourselves a favor check out this cartoon from The Oatmeal.
4. Rodgers demonstrates some amazing foresight in describing the Andy Carroll situation, saying, “It’s going to take something incredible for him to leave the football club.”
Yeah, “incredible” is one way to describe what transpired on the last day of the transfer window.
5. Jon Flanagan putting in extra work after training and getting some quality one-on-one time with the manager.
We’ve seen the phrase “shocking lack of depth” appear more frequently in the press after a transfer window that left many fans disappointed with the reinforcements made up front in attack. But if there’s one area of the pitch that seems to be in healthy condition, it has to be Liverpool’s defense. Despite a worrying dip in form for Jose Enrique at left back – blame the late nights challenging teammates to FIFA ’13, blame the shaved head, blame time spent perfecting his English over Twitter – the remaining members of the back line each have a promising backup to step in should they fall victim to injury or suspension. The right back position, in particular, has a promising string of players that have proven to be more than serviceable when called into action.
And although Jon Flanagan sits behind both Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly on the depth chart, his dedication and hard work are bound to pay off for the 19-year-old Scouser. We saw video of him putting in extra work after practice, indicating that the opportunity to impress a new manager is not lost on the young player:
“Everyone’s working a lot harder to impress the gaffer, but everyone works hard in training anyways….you wanna get that starting position.”
Rodgers agrees apparently, offering some one-on-one counsel during a training session at Harvard. And for a coach who stresses tactical sense as much as technical ability, it’s evident that Flanagan demonstrates the type of intelligence and spacial awareness that Rodgers is looking for:
“Your strength is your reading of the game, so stay behind the ball… you’re not the one bombing on…you’re the boy that stays behind, serves the ball simple, gets organized from behind, gets possession.”
With the younger players putting in a solid effort against Young Boys on Thursday, it’s only a matter of time before Flanagan begins to see significant minutes of the pitch. But unlike Raheem Sterling – or a young Emiliano Insua – the fact that two players remain ahead of him gives Rodgers the luxury of easing him into the first team at his own pace. He’s certainly a player for the future, but his commitment and work ethic – along with an extended education under the new gaffer – will do wonders for a local lad determined to break into the first team of his boyhood club.