sport

Rodgers hails Jose influence

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes he owes his career to the man he is trying to outsmart this weekend - Jose Mourinho.

Rodgers worked as a youth-team coach at Chelsea during Mourinho's first spell in charge at the London club.

He went on to become a manager in his own right and arrived at Anfield last year after spells at Watford, Reading and Swansea.

Mourinho left Chelsea in 2007 but returned this year after working at European giants Inter Milan and Real Madrid, and is now set to face his former protege for the first time.

Rodgers has impressed during his time on Merseyside and his team are just a point behind Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League ahead of Sunday's meeting at Stamford Bridge.

He said: "I probably wouldn't be sat here today if it wasn't for him. He played a huge part.

"He gave me the self-esteem and confidence that has prepared me greatly for the role I am in today.

"I have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of good people in football and learnt a lot from many people, but the one thing I got from Jose was the details.

"I described him at the time as the best day-to-day organiser in world football.

"I was very fortunate to work with someone of that calibre for just over three years. I really learned from him.

"He was brilliant for me. He really took me under his wing. I was a 30-year-old nobody who worked in youth development, who was assigned to come in and work there with him.

"From the first day of meeting him, he gave me the confidence and responsibility and accountability to work at that level. There are not many managers that would have done that.

"I was in pole position to learn and I wasn't going to miss that opportunity, hoping that one day I could follow in his footsteps at a leading club.

"Thankfully for me, my career has progressed to one of the best institutions in the world.

"It seems a long time ago now, but it was all part of my journey and my story."

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