Rodgers wants Reds to be pass masters
Brendan Rodgers oversaw his first game in charge of Liverpool on Saturday, and then revealed his plans to pass teams into submission this season.
Rodgers picked up a 1-1 draw in Liverpool's friendly against Toronto, with 18-year-old striker Adam Morgan notching the equaliser after Raheem Sterling had tormented the opposition defence.
The match was notable for the return of Lucas Leiva, as well as appearances by Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani, while the style that Liverpool employed sparked a talking point. Rodgers order his team to play two-touch football, keeping possession at all costs, and he insists that style will earmark his reign as Liverpool boss.
"We've still got a long way to go, [but] it's very important that we dictate games, we control games, we dominate games," Rodgers said on the club's official website. "You saw for large parts of the game we forced Toronto back.
"It's just that penetration that will get better as time goes on, because possession is no good on its own. Some of the movement patterns were very good and it'll get better."
Martin Skrtel featured in the second half for Liverpool, amid speculation he may yet leave the club. Daniel Agger, who has also been linked to an Anfield exit with Real Madrid interested, is expected to line up alongside his defensive partner on Wednesday against Roma.
"He's just joined the group on Monday and had his first training session on Tuesday. It was just too early for him because he's had four weeks off," Rodgers said. "I didn't want to put him in that situation because others had been back for a couple of weeks. Daniel will have some involvement against Roma on Wednesday."
Commenting on the impact of Sterling, who made a real impression with his pace and trickery in the second half, Rodgers confessed he was surprised by some the 17-year-old's attributes. The Liverpool boss had stated pre-match that Sterling is not ready for first-team action, but the teenager may have altered his boss's thinking.
"I thought he did very well," he said. "Raheem is very persistent. He doesn't get knocked over easily, he shows great courage and bravery on the ball. His strength for the goal was impressive - that was the thing that surprised me for such a slight guy.
"He was in a good position to intercept, he then went on the outside of the defender, worked his space and got his shot across goal, and obviously young Morgs tapped it in."
Liverpool lacked a natural goalscorer throughout last season, scoring 47 goals in 38 league games. The capture of Fabio Borini is supposed to rectify that issue, but Rodgers also believes Morgan can play his part.
"He's a really, really good kid. He's come in, he's taken everything on board that I've talked about," Rodgers said. "He's technically good, he's got a natural eye for a goal - if he doesn't arrive at that moment, the goal doesn't go in because the defender would have got to the line to defend it.
"He's got that natural instinct to score but I was also pleased with the cleverness in his pressing. He pressed the ball really well. That forced them into some mistakes."