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Rodgers' revolution: Celtic are the best in Europe when it comes to keeping the ball

The former Liverpool boss has had quite the impact on the club since arriving in the summer of 2016.

Image: Jane Barlow

BRENDAN RODGERS HAS certainly had quite the effect on Celtic since taking over as the club’s manager in the summer of 2016.

The side were crowned treble winners in his first campaign in charge, the side making it through the entire Scottish season unbeaten.

But it’s not just the results where the former Liverpool boss has made a substantial difference.

In terms of playing style, Celtic now prefer a possession-based approach and are patient and controlled, preferring to build up an attack from deep. There’s a reluctance to go direct while the side also follows Rodgers’ advocacy of ‘defending with the ball’.

And now, according to the latest figures from the CIES Football Observatory, Celtic’s ability to keep the ball is better than any other team in Europe.

Based on figures they’ve studied since the start of the season, Celtic have the highest ball possession percentage at 70.8%. That’s better than Borussia Dortmund, their Champions League group-stage opponents Paris Saint-Germain and the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona.

CIES also found that Celtic came out on top in terms of average seconds per possession.

Fittingly, the club are shortlisted for Fifa’s Puskas Award – presented to the player who scored the best goal of the year.

And nothing gives a better insight into Rodgers’ work at Celtic and the club’s on-field approach than Moussa Dembele’s magnificent strike against St. Johnstone.

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