As the banner proudly states, Liverpool are European royalty. Five times the Reds have listen the European Cup and three times they have lifted the UEFA Cup. This is a club who history in deeply intertwined with European football from those four wins in seven years in the late 70s early 80s to the Heysel disaster in 1985.
So why does Brendan Rodgers insist of devaluing Liverpool’s European history? It began last season when Liverpool travelled to play Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéu, one of the cathedrals of world football.
when the Champions League draw was made last August this was the match that fanatical Koppites, neutrals and football romantics had pointed to. Liverpool, back in the Bernabeu, back where they belong, some would say. Any Anfield regular who says his imagination did not run a little wild at the sight of it is surely lying. The champions of Europe? Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Bale? What if we could beat them, as Rafael Benitez once did?
But Rodgers is not Rafa. He rested seven first-team regulars that night in Madrid with Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling not getting int the game until the 69th minute and lost 1-0. Liverpool got what Rodgers wanted that night which was defeat with honour. And it looks like he is going for the same result in France on Thursday.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Rodgers is expected to rest striker Christian Benteke, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Lucas Leiva for their Europa League opener in Bordeaux.
So what is the big game this weekend that Brendan Rodgers is resting his players for? Arsenal? Chelsea? Man City? No. Liverpool play Norwich at Anfield on Sunday.
That Brendan Rodgers i willing to tarnish Liverpool’s proud European history for a league match against Norwich says a lot about what kind of manager he is. Would Bob Paisley, Bill Shakily, Kenny Dalglish or Rafael Benitez have sent a weakened squad to face Bordeaux?
No and that is the difference between Rodgers and the great Liverpool managers.