THE BLOG
02/05/2014 12:56 BST | Updated 02/07/2014 06:59 BST

Brendan Rogers and Liverpool Carry the Beauty and Naivety of Kevin Keegan's Mid 90s Newcastle

Observing Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers in front of the cameras after a potentially season-defining game between Liverpool and Chelsea last weekend was intriguing.

Rodgers' post-match comments that railed against Chelsea's partiality towards defensive football and alleged time-wasting reminded me in many ways of a certain Kevin Keegan moment when he was manager of Newcastle in 1996.

The similarities between the two are startling. Keegan, whose team were in the process of relinquishing a twelve-point lead they'd held over Manchester United at the top of the league, snapped live on Sky Sports in response to mind games from his old foe Sir Alex Ferguson. Losing his temper completely and screaming "I will love it if we beat them! Love it!" the moment has gone down in history.

Newcastle lost in their quest for the title on the last day of the season, but many observers point to this interview the week before as the moment their bid truly went up in smoke.

Rodgers' interview may not have had the raised voice, the wild stare and finger jabbing that saw Keegan's rant voted as the Premier League's most memorable quote, but it was probably as close to a public Keegan-esque meltdown as we are ever likely to see from him.

Instead there was an edge to Rogers' deep Ulster tones that betrayed an overwhelming frustration and a sense of injustice. Like Keegan, he too could feel the Premier League title slipping through his fingers.

Slamming his former mentor Mourinho by saying it was "Not hard to coach ten players to stay behind the ball," Rogers mistakenly appears to believe that because his management style is defined by attractive passing football, so must everyone else's.

By contrast, Mourinho's treatment of his press conference after the game was typically theatrical.

In the same way that Sir Alex Ferguson was, Mourinho is a master at handling the media. He has flatly denied all season that his team can win the title, despite staying in touch with the top all season.

His, and Chelsea's experience of being at the top has taught him the tricks of the trade, including the dirty ones. Liverpool fans need no reminding that their last league title was in 1990 and their current manager has never punched this high before.

Similarly, Kevin Keegan was in his first managerial post at Newcastle, who had no idea what it was like to be at the summit of English football for 69 years before his band of "Entertainers" came so close.

Psychologists will tell you that a siege mentality in any sporting dressing room, or indeed organisation can be a vital tool to success.

But once that spirit has been broken by an outside force that is perceived to be using underhand tactics, then suddenly the cracks appear and the collective vehicle loses control because its tricked itself into thinking it has already been beaten, albeit unfairly.

Whilst the left-back of Keegan's team, John Beresford, later said that the Newcastle played were heartened watching their manager's impassioned defence on the bus home, their failure to win either of their final two games suggests the mentality of a side that had already given up the ghost.

And that's why Brendan Rodgers' slip of his own may prove just as costly, if not moreso, than Steven Gerrard's to Liverpool's faltering challenge.