Ex-Chelsea chief: My vision helping Rodgers reach the top
Former Chelsea sporting director Frank Arnesen always knew Brendan Rodgers was destined for the top, because he helped sculpt his footballing philosophy.
Arnesen was overseeing operations at Stamford Bridge when, in 2006, a 33-year-old Rodgers was given his chance to cut his teeth in management with the Blues' second string. Just reward for his two years working with the club's youth sides.
Six years on, and after detours of Watford, Reading and Swansea, Rodgers is now in charge of one of biggest clubs in the land, Liverpool, and preparing for one of the Premier League fixtures of the season - a trip to Manchester United.
After a slow start to life at Anfield - with the Reds enduring their worst start to a domestic campaign in over 100 years - Rodgers takes his men to Old Trafford in confident mood after far more encouraging results in recent weeks.
A progressive and forward thinking coach, Rodgers convinced Arnesen very early on that he had all the prerequisite qualities to become a top class coach. All that the Northern Irishman was missing, according to Arnesen, was a model that he could adopt, refine and, eventually, call his own.
"I know Brendan very well. He was obviously my youth coach at Chelsea" recalls Arnesen in an exclusive interview with Sport360°.
"When I arrived at Stamford Bridge Brendan was only 33 years old. He was the youth coach and I was very much involved with him. We talked a lot about the game and shared our philosophies.
"I introduced 4-3-3 into the youth set-up. Mourinho always played that formation with the first-team, but I brought in a number 10 and allowed the two central midfielders to go forward. One staying, one going and vice versa. I gave them the freedom to do that.
"In the youth there was not that structure at all, everyone just played anywhere. But I introduced the system from Under-11s right through to the reserve team and Brendan embraced that."
So much so in fact, that Rodgers has implemented a variant of the formation at both Swansea, where he earned plaudits for the Welsh side's swashbuckling style of play that earned them the moniker 'Swanselona', and now Liverpool.
But aside from cultivating a style of play that excites the fans and enthralls the pundits, what else makes Rodgers the highly-respected coach that he is throughout the game?
"He's very capable, a great, great coach with a lot of vision. He's on top of everything and he'll give a lot of individual training as well," continued Arnesen, who like Rodgers, is trying to restore the glory days at another of Europe's big clubs, Hamburg.
"He's very well prepared and is good with the boys. He explains everything in great detail. Never shouts. There is no need to do that because he's such a good communicator."
No wonder then that Arnesen believes Daniel Sturridge has found the perfect enviroment to continue his football education.
The 23-year-old joined Liverpool in a £12million deal earlier this month having failed to fulfil the enormous potential that Arnesen spotted when he brought the player to Stamford Bridge in 2009.
A huge admirer of the England man, the Dane believes only one person can stop Sturridge from becoming one of the Premier League's leading stars - himself.
"It's all down to Daniel Sturridge. Nobody else," said Arnesen. "He's a great, great talent. He's 23 years old now so he's still a young man. But it's about hard work. He has to work hard and have the determination to score goals every game.
"He's now under Brendan's wing, so if he listens there, then Daniel will have a marvellous time at Liverpool. No doubt about it, he's a goalscorer. A big talent, he's quick, has a great left foot and he scores goals. He has everything."