LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Maxi Rodriguez of Liverpool leaps into the air to celebrate after scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield on May 1, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
So Fabio Borini's all but announced, and we'll get there soon enough. For now, though, we can talk Maxi. There's been some sort of talk about Maxi Rodriguez leaving since early in the spring--as the minutes and time on the pitch just didn't come, even when it was clear that his impact on the squad was distinctly positive, we gradually resigned ourselves to a goodbye at some point in the near future. Newell's Old Boys in Argentina, the club with which he made his professional debut, has always been the supposed destination, and it still very well could be.
An exit would be understandable after the way the 2011-2012 season went, but it's at least nice to hear Brendan Rodgers make comment about the value he sees in keeping the midfielder around.
"I have known about Maxi for a long time. He will understand 120 per cent about the way I want us to play. But sometimes there are issues that surround that - that's what I am speaking to him about now. He doesn't speak the language, it has been difficult for his family. If a player like him wanted to leave, it would not be because of the club. Sometimes it is just personal issues. I have had a couple of really good conversations with him. I know his thoughts and how he is thinking. It was a difficult season for him. He probably felt that he should have played more.
"We will hopefully see where he is at over the next couple of weeks and find a solution for him. But he would be a very good player for our squad."
Personal concerns will likely trump any goodwill or desire to stay at Liverpool, and, at least from my point of view, that's probably the way things should be. There's a healthy Spanish-speaking contingent still at the club, and from the outside looking in it seems as though he's formed strong relationships throughout the squad, but there's always going to be a challenge if the family part of things still hasn't settled.
I'm hopeful something can work out, as I think he's been terrific for most of the past two seasons. He's been at the heart of so much of the decent football the club have pieced together during that period of time, pushing on from a fairly anonymous start to Liverpool career in the latter half of the 2009-2010 season to become an integral part of Liverpool's attack. The most obvious memories are those that came down the stretch in the spring of 2011, when he was scoring for fun, but even as he got fewer and fewer minutes in the most recent season, he was consistent and effective.
The anonymity piece in his first few months proved hard to push past for many, as some are indifferent as to whether or not he stays. But as Rodgers notes, he's a near-perfect fit for the style of play Liverpool are seeking, and there's plenty of evidence that he'd be both an important and successful part of that approach. He's all about short passes, quick one-twos, cutting inside and linking play in a fluid and dynamic manner. Maxi's been pass-and-move non-stop over the past two seasons, even when Liverpool weren't.
So as a transition piece to a new identity on the pitch for Liverpool, I can't imagine anyone better to have around.