Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers appears to be edging closer to filling Liverpool’s managerial vacancy but reports he has agreed a three-year deal have been dismissed as premature.
The 39-year-old emerged yesterday as Fenway Sports Group’s first choice to succeed Kenny Dalglish, having moved ahead of Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.
Reports began circulating late this afternoon that a three-year deal had been agreed but sources at Liverpool told Press Association Sport this was “categorically untrue”.
It seems inevitable, however, that the Northern Irishman will be installed at Anfield and most likely before the weekend.
The Reds will have to pay somewhere in the region of between £4million to £5million in compensation as part of the new contract Rodgers signed at the Liberty Stadium in February.
After holding a meeting with his club chairman Huw Jenkins yesterday, Rodgers was believed to have met representatives from Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's owners, this afternoon and it is now anticipated he will speak to Jenkins again.
Rodgers has won many plaudits for the way Swansea played on their return to the top flight this season, and while his initial link to Liverpool left fans unimpressed they appeared to have warmed to the idea in the last couple of days.
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler believes Rodgers deserves his chance but has warned next season may be another testing one for the Anfield faithful.
“For what Brendan Rodgers has achieved at Swansea, he deserves huge respect,” Fowler told paddypower.com.
“He’s worked under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea so he knows the score and he’s worked with top players.
“It’d be a massive step-up for Rodgers to manage Liverpool, if he gets the job, as expected now.
“The new manager will need to bring in new players again to take Liverpool from a top-eight club to a top-four club.
“That’s going to be really difficult. It’s a massive challenge.
“Because the top four are going to bring in new players too and that gulf increases again.
“I have to say it, right now the 2012/2013 season looks like it’s going to be another difficult one for Liverpool fans.”
Fowler felt former manager Rafael Benitez would have been the sensible option, even though FSG discounted him very early on in the process, but had concerns over long-time front-runner Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.
“Sacking Kenny certainly wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Certainly not mine,” Fowler added.
“But football is big business. John Henry (Liverpool’s principal owner) and the Fenway Sports Group have put a lot of cash into Liverpool so they can do what they want, really.
“I like stability at a club. You can’t just keep getting rid of players or managers.
“How long has Alex Ferguson been at Old Trafford? Nobody gets that chance now.
“My old boss, Rafa Benitez, who was an early contender to go back to Anfield, would have learned from his mistakes and could have done a job there again.
“That said, I know people who have worked with Roberto Martinez and rate him highly. He’s done a fantastic job at Wigan.
“But that in itself worried me. Liverpool is a big club with big standards. Wigan is a little club.
“What worried me is that, sure, Martinez brought Wigan on a run at the end of the season and they avoided relegation but what about the 30 games before that?”
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina admitted he would have liked to have seen Benitez return.
“For many of my colleagues and me, Rafa Benitez would be the ideal candidate,” he told Radio Marca.
“It is true I’m not objective, it is the coach who most shaped me ... [he] is the best.”