New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is aware that reigning European and world champions Spain play a uniquely dominant brand of football but is confident that his Reds side can play with a similar approach.
Rodgers rose to prominence after leading his Swansea City side to play an aggressive style of football that had been rare for a recently promoted club.
The Welsh side impressed with a mid-table finish and Rodgers was brought to Liverpool to revive a squad that had a tough time scoring goals last season.
Having seen the way Spain defended brilliantly by keeping possession and simultaneously pushing forward to create match-winning chances in their Euro 2012 triumph this summer, Rodgers is convinced that successfully emulating such a playing style would be an effective approach at Anfield.
“We [Swansea City] used to defend with the ball and people in this country don’t quite understand that – they think that you defend without the ball. They had times when they rested with the football, and that was their way of defending because you can’t press and can’t always score every minute of the game,” Rodgers told LiverpoolFC.tv.
The manager added: “How they do it and how it is all co-ordinated is absolutely fantastic. But the most important thing is that it is effective, and it is brilliant to watch.”
When asked if his team can operate without a true striker akin to Vicente Del Bosque’s side, Rodgers explained: “Yes, I did that last year. I think it is all about penetration. We talked a lot and it is something I will look to bring [to Liverpool]: possession is no good on its own, it has to be with penetration.
“If you look at the goals Spain scored in the final, they had penetration as well as possession. [Cesc] Fabregas was playing a striker but he wasn’t really, he was free and loose.
“The pass that he received off his run in behind set up the first goal for [David] Silva, the second goal came from the penetration from the left-back, [Jordi] Alba, who made a great run. The third goal came from them winning it back early in the transition and [Fernando] Torres made the penetrating run in behind.
“I think sometimes it is very easy to pinpoint a striker will always play as a striker. You see with Spain, and Barcelona with [Lionel] Messi, it is something that works. What is important is what the players do in those positions and that allows you to win games.”
Given how settled Rodgers was at Swansea, one can see that moving to Liverpool was somewhat of a sacrifice for him but the manager is confident that his decision will be proved right in due time.
“It was always going to be very important for me if I left Swansea to go to another club that it was the right type of club. Liverpool is the perfect club for me.
“When you get that opportunity to go to a club like Liverpool and hopefully help it improve, it is very difficult to turn down. In my professional career and challenge, it was a great step for me,” he concluded.