Seeking to freshen up his central midfield, Rodgers made some calls about Sahin, about his suitability, drawing on his contacts in the game. He particularly called on his friendship with Sahin’s Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho, an ally from their time at Chelsea.
Mourinho is loyal to his disciples, proffering advice and in this case a loan star also coveted by Arsene Wenger. Leaving aside any amusement Mourinho might have drawn from Wenger being snubbed, Mourinho wanted to help somebody whose career he has always nurtured.
Rodgers impressed at Swansea City last season, winning games and friends with his possession game, finishing an admirable 11th, but Liverpool is a real step up in level of expectation and rebuilding.
Some fans were inevitably sceptical at the appointment of such an inexperienced manager, the doubts thickening in the wake of last week’s embarrassment at West Brom, but they will have heard and noted the supportive testimony of Mourinho for Rodgers.
Liverpool fans have rarely engaged positively with Mourinho, following Carling Cup scrapes and Champions League ghost-goals, but the approval of such a serial trophy-collector as Mourinho still carries significant weight. “He was a young coach with lots of desire to learn,’’ Mourinho recalled of Rodgers’ input at the Bridge and Cobham.
“But he was also a coach with ideas, who was ready not just to listen but also to communicate and share.” So here was a callow coach with the self-belief to voice his own opinions on how the game should be played, an apprentice confident enough to speak up in the presence of such a distinguished master.
Still only 39, Rodgers has always had faith in his own abilities, a quality he will need during the difficult months ahead as he bends Liverpool to his own tactical will.
Sahin’s style reflects the possession game Rodgers attempts to instil at Anfield.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring in a top technician,’’ he observed of the Turkish international. “He’s a master technician and that’s something important, that I’ve got players who can cope with the game.
“I will always carry more midfielders than probably most. I will try to carry five or six central midfielders because we always play with three. That’s the key part of our team. We have to command the game, dictate the tempo of the game and need to ensure that area is as fresh as we possibly can.” Pass and move is hardly an alien culture to a club that once boasted Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish but there will be teething problems with the current crop, particularly in defence where Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger have already been caught out.
Patience is required. Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, stand strongly behind their manager, and will back him if he walks through a storm of poor results and unconvincing performances.
For all their love of Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool fans know how much work is required on the team and squad. Rodgers’ main issue must be to keep the players fully committed to his plans, including the more measured build-up and the changing in marking systems at set-pieces. Certain players like Andy Carroll, probably Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing, are clearly not in Rodgers’ thoughts so the dressing-room dynamic has an inherent tension.
Rodgers is that combination of steely glint in the eye, engaging humour and honesty. “I promise players three things,’’ the Irishman reflected of his talks with Sahin. “The first is my communication. I won’t bluff players, I’ll be totally honest and open with them.
"The second is that they’ll become better, that the quality of work will improve them as players.
"Thirdly I promise ambition. I want to be the very, very best I possibly can. I grew from nothing into something through sheer ambition and work and determination. If they don’t go for that I’ll just take out my guitar and sing some Irish songs!” He should hear a familiar tune on Sunday with The Fields of Anfield Road.
Getting Liverpool’s players in harmony with their new tactical notes will take longer.