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Liverpool set to hire Rodgers as new manager
By STEVE DOUGLAS
LONDON (AP) Liverpool appears set to hire Brendan Rodgers as its new manager.
The hire would vault the Northern Irishman from relative obscurity to one of the toughest jobs in soccer, with his current club Swansea claiming a deal was expected to be finalized on Thursday.
Following talks with Liverpool's American owners - Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox - Rodgers told Swansea on Wednesday he has been offered the job as Kenny Dalglish's replacement at Anfield and was ready to accept.
"We are trying to finalize within the next 24 hours," Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins. "Although we are very disappointed to lose such a talented, young British manager, we didn't wish to stand in his way."
Liverpool will have to pay compensation to Swansea, reported to be in the region $6 million, because Rodgers has three years left on his contract after signing a new deal in January.
In what will be one of the most low-key managerial appointments made by the traditional English powerhouse in a generation, the 39-year-old Rodgers was preferred to Wigan manager Roberto Martinez despite having only one season's experience in England's top division.
That year, however, was a highly successful one, with Swansea finishing 11th in its first season in the Premier League, earning plenty of admirers because of the Welsh team's attractive, possession-based style of play. It made Rodgers one of the most sought managers in Britain.
"We wish Brendan every success in the future," Jenkins said. "We will always remain good friends and we thank him for all his hard work and passion at this football club over the past two years. We shall now refocus and quickly start the process of finding his replacement to continue the great work Brendan has carried out at this football club."
Liverpool, which has yet to comment on the managerial situation, fired Dalglish two weeks ago after a disappointing campaign in the Premier League, where it placed eighth - its lowest finish in 18 years. The Reds' last match of the season was a 1-0 loss at Swansea, leaving them 17 points off a Champions League qualification spot, the minimum goal of the owners.
Dalglish guided Liverpool to victory in the League Cup final, ending the club's six-year trophy drought, but it wasn't enough to convince management he was the man to return the five-time European champions to glory.
Liverpool targeted the hiring of a young manager to replace Dalglish and also held talks with Martinez, who led Wigan to survival in the Premier League with a stunning late-season run that included a 1-0 win at Liverpool. But it decided on Rodgers, who was once a youth-team manager at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and has also managed second-tier clubs Watford and Reading.
Updated May 30, 2012