Brendan Rodgers schools new boys in magic of Anfield
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has given his new players a sneak preview of Anfield ahead of their first Premier League home game of the season against Bournemouth on Monday.
London: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has given his new players a sneak preview of Anfield ahead of their first Premier League home game of the season against Bournemouth on Monday.
Rodgers handed competitive debuts to five new signings in last weekend`s 1-0 win at Stoke City, which saw Liverpool prevail courtesy of a memorable long-range strike by Philippe Coutinho in the 86th minute.
Liverpool encountered some difficulties at home last season, losing four games and drawing five, and in a bid to help the new recruits acclimatise to the famous stadium, Rodgers held a training session there on Friday.
"I felt it was important for our new players, and the new staff, to acquaint themselves with Anfield," he told his pre-match press conference.
"They know how special it is. They trained well last night (Friday) and obviously we`re looking forward to the game on Monday.
"It`s a really special place to play football and it`s going to be very important again for us, if we`re going to have a good season, that our home form is second-to-none.
"A big part of that is the support we receive at home. So we`re looking forward to the game."
Liverpool toiled at the Britannia Stadium until Coutinho`s late flash of inspiration and Rodgers will hope to see more invention from his forward players against promoted Bournemouth.
New £32.5 million ($50.8 million, 45.8 million euros) striker Christian Benteke saw his only attempt at goal blocked, while Adam Lallana was hooked in the 63rd minute after an ineffective display.
Brazil forward Roberto Firmino, a £29 million ($45.3 million, 40.8 million euros) acquisition from Hoffenheim, made a late entrance as a substitute and Rodgers has revealed the 23-year-old will soon be in a position to start after building up his fitness.
Rodgers could name an unchanged side for the visit of Eddie Howe`s team, which would mean 18-year-old Joe Gomez continuing at left-back after making an impressive competitive debut at Stoke.Liverpool twice won at Bournemouth in cup competitions in 2014, prevailing 2-0 in the fourth round of the 2013-14 FA Cup and then winning 3-1 in last season`s League Cup quarter-finals.
But Howe will be the first manager to take Bournemouth to Anfield since January 1968, when a team playing under the banner of Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic lost 4-1 in an FA Cup third-round replay.
Howe is also expected to keep faith with the XI that he selected on the opening weekend, when the club from the south coast lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa in their first ever top-flight fixture.
He wants to give the players who took Bournemouth to the Championship title a chance to prove themselves in the Premier League and aside from Harry Arter, Shaun MacDonald and Christian Atsu, his squad is fully fit.
At 37, Howe is one of the most highly rated young managers in the country and he is excited about pitting his wits against Rodgers and his newly appointed assistant Sean O`Driscoll.
Howe previously worked under O`Driscoll, who was one of his predecessors at Bournemouth, and has been impressed by the philosophies that Rodgers has successively instilled at Swansea City and Liverpool.
"(Rodgers has) been a role model, really, for me, someone you look up to and admire," said Howe. "I admired watching his Swansea teams play.
"When you try and analyse games and analyse systems, and philosophies, he`s certainly someone that I`ve looked at. I respect the way he conducts himself as well."
Howe said that O`Driscoll, who has replaced Colin Pascoe in the Anfield dug-out, was "hugely influential" when the pair worked together.
"I certainly believe Sean had a huge part in my management style," he added.
"Obviously he`s moved on and I haven`t seen or worked with him for a long time, but I think that stays with you. I was very lucky, as a young professional, to have such a forward-thinking coach as Sean."