Jordan Henderson
Brendan Rodgers will have to get the best out of underperforming players like Jordan Henderson if he is to succeed at Anfield. REUTERS

Mark Lawrenson believes appointing Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager represents a huge risk on the part of owners Fenway Sports Group but backed the 39-year-old to succeed at Anfield.

Liverpool's two-week search for a new manager is expected to be resolved on Thursday after they agreed a £5m compensation package with Swansea City to employ Rodgers on a three-year contract.

The Northern Irishman met Liverpool's principal owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner on Wednesday and assured he will have complete control over team affairs as he looks to build a credible challenge for a Champions League berth next season.

"It's a great appointment for him and the biggest gamble the club have taken in a long time," Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

"Liverpool supporters will give him a chance. They will give him time. But if they don't look like finishing anywhere near top four, what do the owners do?"

Rodgers' appointment appears to fit the template FSG have tried to apply since taking control of Liverpool in January 2011. A young coach who served his apprenticeship under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Rodgers' Swansea side played a fluid, attractive brand of football that belied the humble composition of their squad.

Indeed, despite speaking to Louis Van Gaal and Roberto Martinez, it appears Rodgers was always FSG's principal target to succeed Kenny Dalglish.

"Rodgers has done a great job at Swansea; everyone loves the way they play their football," said Lawrenson.

"The chance for Brendan to manage a club which is in the top 10 in the country was too much to resist. It's a different challenge for him; the club will be expected to win every game.

"Liverpool spent an awful lot of money last season, there's no doubt they overspent. It's a big job for Rodgers because he'll be responsible for everything as there's no director of football.

"Swansea have lost managers before, Roberto Martinez went to Wigan. They're a very good and well-run football club."

Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder John Barnes believes a number of the club's fringe players could struggle to adapt to Rodgers' footballing philosophy.

"I always say that when you have a philosophy on football, you need the players who can instil that," Barnes told the BBC. "Are they the type of players who can play the way Rodgers wants them to? They will have to have some adjustment.

"We have to give the situation time to develop. You have to come to a point where you can't keep changing managers year in, year out. It's been 20 years since we have won league.

"We've been chopping and changing. We need to do what is in the best interests of the club, even if that means we don't qualify for the Champions League in the next three years."