Brendan Rodgers learned a lot during his time as Liverpool boss
Brendan Rodgers will return to Liverpool forever grateful for the education he received during his spell as manager at Anfield.
The Leicester boss sends his side into battle with the Premier League leaders on Saturday having spent more than three years at the helm on the red half of Merseyside earlier in his career.
He will encounter a very different Liverpool this weekend with his successor, Jurgen Klopp, having guided the club to Champions League glory at the end of last season, but he retains positive memories.
Rodgers said at his pre-match press conference: “I always take the positives and when I analyse my time there, the club was in… we had to trim the budget, they hadn’t been in the Champions League for five seasons, then we had to put in place a playing style that moved us up the table.
“The first couple of seasons went well, we went close to the title. The fourth season didn’t last so long.
“It was a great learning experience as a coach. There were so many highs as a young manager and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Klopp’s men boast a 100 per cent league record going into the game, but the Foxes too have enjoyed a promising start to the campaign, losing only once to sit in third place.
The form of striker Jamie Vardy has been key to their surge up the table with the 32-year-old’s double in last weekend’s 5-0 drubbing of Newcastle taking his tally for the season to five goals.
Asked if Vardy is a better player than people think, Rodgers said: “He’s recognised as one of the best strikers in the division and in Europe. You don’t appreciate it until you work with him day-to-day.
“He’s a real leader on the field. He has an inherent belief in his abilities and he’s very clinical.”
Leicester have been indebted too to the contribution of 22-year-old midfielder James Maddison, who has been included in the England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Maddison has missed the last two games – a 4-0 Carabao Cup win at Luton and the league victory over the Magpies – with an ankle injury, but has returned to training this week and is in contention to play at Anfield.
Rodgers said: “James is fine. He’s trained the last couple of days and he’s OK.”