Rodgers: Stevie didn’t need words from me

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Brendan Rodgers said he did not need to give Steven Gerrard any words of encouragement, following his unfortunate slip during the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend.


The Reds skipper lost his footing on the stroke of half time at Anfield last Sunday, allowing Demba Ba to race clear and score the opening goal which swung the game in Chelsea’s favour.

Steven Gerrard

The result brought an end to the Reds 11 game winning streak, however they remain top of the Premier League table with just two matches to play.

Gerrard has been an instrumental figure for the Reds in their rise to the top this season, and Rodgers has backed his captain to bounce back in the remaining fixtures.


Asked whether he needed to lift Gerrard during the week, the manager replied: “No, not at all. Stevie was like us all – we all hurt [after the game].

“Obviously it was a big game. Steven played really, really well, but he was just unfortunate to make the slip and Demba Ba went through and finished really well.

“Steven is a guy who has picked himself up over many years after disappointments. And he will do it again. He’s a real, real good man. I think it’s been a wee bit over-analysed as well – the guy slipped, which can happen to anyone. Unfortunately it led to the goal. It happens and we move on.”

 

 


Boss offers update on Sturridge fitness

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Brendan Rodgers has provided an update on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge, ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Crystal Palace on Monday evening.

The forward missed the 3-2 victory at Norwich City almost a fortnight ago, and was only fit enough to be used as a second half substitute in last weekends 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Daniel Sturridge

Rodgers has revealed the club will assess the hamstring injury suffered by the 24-year-old over the next two days, before they travel to Selhurst Park for the Monday night fixture.


“We’ll see over the next 48 hours,” said the Northern Irishman. “He hadn’t trained since he got injured in the [Manchester City game], so it was a bit much [against Chelsea].

“He had worked really hard to get back and we needed something on the bench that could support us and help us in the game but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

“But he’s certainly in a much better place. He’s worked tirelessly this week with the medical team. He re-joins the group and we’ll see how he is come Monday.”

 

Martinez insists helping Liverpool is irrelevant

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Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists neither he nor his team will be thinking about Liverpool when they face Manchester City on Saturday evening.

The Reds will be desperately hoping their closest rivals do them a massive favour by taking something away from the fixture at Goodison Park, to put the destination of the title back in their own hands.

Roberto Martinez

But Martinez insists he is focused entirely on his own team, and has no interest in helping Liverpool or any other Premier League side in the title race.

He said: “I don’t think there’s any doubt about the integrity of our football club towards the league and towards the competition.

“We are a football team and football club who want to win every game we go into and we’re looking at ourselves.


“They’re precious points for us so we can’t afford not to give everything to get every point we have left, but helping other teams is not the way we do our work.”

Everton will be without the influential Gareth Barry for Saturday’s game, with the midfielder ineligible to face his parent club having spent the season on loan from Manchester City.

And Martinez is frustrated at how the system for loan players operates in this country.

“In my eyes, when you reach an agreement for a player to go, whether that be a loan or permanent transfer, then he should be allowed to play,” said the Toffees boss.

“It is a decision you make in a transfer window and I don’t see it as a healthy way to treat a loan player. If you make the decision to allow a player to go then it’s because, for whatever reason, everyone is happy to see him at another club for that season.”

 

Luis Suarez insists he is going nowhere this summer

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Luis Suarez has pledged his future to Liverpool, insisting ‘nothing is going to happen’ with regards to a summer transfer away from Anfield.

The Uruguayan was consistently linked with a move away from the club last summer, and reports over the past couple of weeks have suggested Real Madrid are planning a £70million move at the end of the season.

However the newly crowned PFA Players Player of the year, insists he will be staying with Liverpool.

Luis Suarez

Suarez said: “Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen to me. I’m very happy here and my family is happy here.

“If we could win the Premier League and bring the trophy home it would be incredible, a dream come true.”

Suarez also revealed his frustration at Sunday’s defeat to Chelsea, a result which leaves the Reds needing to win their remaining two games of the season and hope Manchester City drop points from their last three.

Speaking to Uruguayan TV channel Canal 10, Suarez said: “I’m still upset (about losing to Chelsea). It was so frustrating.

“We couldn’t find spaces, we made a mistake and it was hard to deal with.

“We knew the game was going to be hard and tight. We all got nervous and lost control.

“We are hoping Man City lose some points but in the Premier League you never know – anything is possible.

“Now we have to win the next two games and it is not going to be easy.”

Lucas explains tactical talks with the boss

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Lucas Leiva has explained how the midfield diamond is a throwback to his days in Brazilian football, after holding talks over a new position with Brendan Rodgers earlier in the season.

Lucas has been primarily used as a holding midfielder during his time at Anfield, but with Steven Gerrard having moved into that position since the turn of the year, the Brazilian has a slightly different role to play going forward.

The 27-year-old started his career as a more attacking midfielder, and has explained how being a part of a midfield diamond enables him to get further forward.

Lucas Leiva

“I played there for Gremio,” he told the official Liverpool FC monthly magazine. “We used to play a lot of time in a diamond.

“We had a holding midfielder, a playmaker, then me – more box-to-box. The playmaker did not run forward so much but I had the energy and freedom to join the attack.

“It’s pretty much the same Brendan asks here if we play in a diamond. Yes, you have to look after the full-backs and, when the ball is on the other side of the pitch, help outside the holding midfielder. You also have to keep the ball but contribute to the attack.

“We sat down in January, where he explained that he wanted to use Stevie as a holding player and me on the side of the three midfielders or the diamond. I had to re-adjust.

“It’s something I feel comfortable with. Of course, as much as you play you feel even more comfortable. You know you can help more. Football is like that.

“The team is doing so well and it is difficult for the manager to change things. You understand that. I know that the only way is to train hard and prepare. Lots of players this season have had chances when they did not expect it.”

“I know Stevie is playing in my position and doing very, very well,” added Lucas.

“So that’s why I’m working hard and maybe looking – not towards another position – but maybe another way I can help, and still play beside Stevie. Because I know him being in the team in that position, my chances will be limited.

“Besides Kenny [Dalglish], Stevie is considered one of the club’s greatest players and he is still one of the best in Europe. He is our captain, a fantastic player and a fantastic person as well.

“He’s our leader. So I just have to see if I can help in any way. Especially being here for so long, I want to be part of it.”

 

Rodgers: Mignolet has made a huge contribution

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Brendan Rodgers has praised the contribution of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, with the Belgian having almost completed his first season as a Liverpool player since signing from Sunderland last summer.

Mignolet has appeared in every minute of the Reds 36 Premier League games so far, and Rodgers believes he has made a significant contribution to his table topping side.

Mignolet

“I’ve been delighted with Simon since he has come in,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“I think he’s an outstanding goalkeeper who is only going to get better and better.

“He has come into a huge club and replaced a legendary figure at the club in Pepe Reina.

“That was always going to take a bit of time.

“But over the course of the season he has made a big contribution. I don’t forget the significance of some of the saves he has made.

“Simon hasn’t ever cost us a game but he has certainly gained us points. He’s an excellent goalkeeper.

“His form has been very good and he has consistently made really crucial saves for us.”

 

Sterling: I’ve had to stamp my personality

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Raheem Sterling believes stamping his own personality on his performances has been the key to his outstanding form this season.

The 19-year-old has been one of the star performers for Brendan Rodgers side this season, having only become a regular in the starting line up in December.

A goal in the 5-1 win over Norwich was followed with another in the 5-0 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and Sterling has not looked back since.

Raheem Sterling

The England international has hit nine goals in the Premier League this season, and has looked every inch a Liverpool player with some electrifying performances.

“Maybe on the outside people had the impression I’ve always been really confident,” he explained to the latest edition of the official Liverpool FC Magazine.

“But after a good start [to last season] I started looking for easy options rather than taking a chance myself, beating a man, taking a shot on myself.

“I’d stopped being natural, all the things that I’d done which got me into the first team in the first place.

“You could look at the [Manchester] City goal as an example. I’m not trying to sound cheeky or over confident but three or four months ago I would have squared rather than take the responsibility all for myself.

“My goal was always to play for Liverpool when I first came here and maybe for a while I thought that goal was achieved because I was one of the lucky ones to do it. But you realise that is not enough. There always has to be the next challenge, to achieve things and win things – making your mark.

“From December time I realised I had to start stamping my personality, running with the ball, running into the box, making goals, scoring goals. Not playing with that barrier, not to be worried about making mistakes.”

Sterling has also shown tactical maturity beyond his years this season, recently operating at the point of a midfield diamond for the Reds.

“Since coming here at 15, I was on the left,” he said. “I only thought I could play left wing. But in the first team my best performances have probably been on the right or behind the strikers.

“I feel like I’m a different player now with more to offer. I realise too that playing in all positions has helped me this season. Being a No 10 is something I’d like to do more of in the future. It suits me.”

Sterling was also keen to praise Dr Steve Peters, who has helped the youngster to maintain his  outstanding form.

“The way he works is brilliant,” the 19-year-old explained. “At first I thought it wasn’t for me. On the outside you might think it’s complicated, but all the messages are very straightforward.

“He understands the players and the emotional side of the game. What he says really helps you.

“We use a motto ‘focus on the ball, focus on the team’. I had a meeting with him before the City game.

“I thought it was going to last 20-25 minutes. So I walked in, sat down and he just said: ‘focus on the ball, focus on the team’. ‘Is that it?’ I asked him. But it was really important.”

 

 

Loan star says he still feels a part of LFC

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On-loan midfielder Suso has revealed he still feels a big part of Liverpool, despite spending the season with Spanish side Almeria.

The young Spaniard says he has kept in close contact with manager Brendan Rodgers, who has been impressed with his displays in 32 La Liga appearances this season.

Suso

Suso – who took his goal tally to three for the season with a fantastic free kick winner over Espanyol – has revealed he keeps in regular contact with not only the boss, but his Liverpool teammates, and as a result feels still a part of the squad.

“I speak with Brendan regularly, we are always in contact and I’m also in touch with other people at the club,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“For those reasons I still feel part of the club and, when possible, I have watched the majority of their matches this season.”

The Spaniard has previously stated his desire to return to the club in the summer to experience Champions League football at Anfield, and his performances in Spain will have done no harm to that dream becoming a reality.

His free kick goal at the weekend was not only beautiful in it’s execution, but crucial in helping Almeria achieve their goal of avoiding relegation.

“It was one of the best goals of my career,” said Suso. “But not just because it was a free kick, but because it was so important in regards to the situation of this club.”

 

Rodgers hails ‘phenomenal’ Suarez

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Brendan Rodgers has described the form of newly crowned PFA Players Player of the Year Luis Suarez as ‘phenomenal’ this season.

The Uruguayan was recognised by his peers at the awards ceremony on Sunday evening, following a season that has seen him score 30 goals and provide 11 assists in 31 Premier League matches.

His form has helped Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table with just two matches of the season remaining, and Rodgers was keen to praise his fantastic displays this season.

Suarez/Rodgers

“It’s that invention and creativity that we love,” Rodgers said.

He’s a player from the street and that’s something that in this country we’ve been looking to identify.

“He’s just relentless in his work. Every second of the day, in training, he’s just non-stop. He has been coached but it hasn’t been coached out of him. He has been allowed to flourish. In and around the box, he’s magical.

“He’s a real humble guy and so professional. People don’t see that.

“This is a guy who, when he finishes his meal, he gets his two bottles of water, four litres, he takes it away, making sure he’s hydrated before games.

“He never misses a training session. He’s never on the treatment table – and the kicks he gets, the knocks he gets. Everyone is seeing his maturity as a person and his continuing development as a player. He has been phenomenal.

“I’m interested in the person as much as the player. From the first year, he knew I would shape the team around his qualities. The way we set the system up is to be technical and intelligent.

“Probably what people don’t see with Luis is that he’s a very, very highly intelligent man off the field – and maybe sometimes in the past that intelligence on the field hasn’t been seen so much – but that imagination is part of how we work.

“I love players that have that technical ability. That’s what we’ve built our template on over the past 20 months and he’s at the top end of that.”

Rodgers admitted that Champions League qualification for the Reds this season was vital to ensuring Suarez stayed at Anfield, after almost leaving the club last summer.

“A player of Luis Suarez’s ability has to be playing at this level,” remarked Rodgers. “His loyalty in staying at Liverpool, to continue to fight for the club to get us there, is remarkable really.

“Hopefully he gets the rewards for that with those big European nights next season.”

Suarez was keen to thank the supporters, his teammates and his family following the award, and Rodgers believes his wife Sofia has played as big a part as anyone in his rise to the top.

“She’s a great woman and offers him great stability in his life,” he said. “She tells him straight and direct. She loves Liverpool, she loves the city, she loves the camaraderie with the other players’ wives. So she’s a real pillar in his life.

“Luis travelled across the world to find her again. It’s an incredible story. She left Uruguay and went to Barcelona with her parents. He wanted to move to Europe so he would have the chance to meet up with her again.

“When he went to Holland – it’s a beautiful story – he was only 17 and had gone to Groningen, he asked the coach for a few days off. On those days off, he travelled to Barcelona to go and get her, to bring her back, and they’ve been together ever since.”

Former Reds boss insists we must keep believing

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Former Liverpool boss has called on supporters and players to keep believing this is the year the club ends it’s 24 year wait for a league title.

Brendan Rodgers saw his sides title hopes suffer a major blow when Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners at Anfield on Sunday.

However, the Reds remain top of the table and know they can win the title if they win their remaining two matches, and Manchester City drop points in any of their three remaining matches.

the Kop

Evans told the clubs official website: Cr “I know everybody is disappointed – the fans, Brendan and the players – with the way it went on Sunday, but the fact is we are still not out of it.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted but we still have a chance of winning the Premier League.

“You’ve got to be positive on all sides; there are still two games to go for us and three for Manchester City, but all of the teams have showed this season that they are capable of dropping points.

“City have it in their own hands but we always knew they were lurking in that position. I’m confident we will win our next two games and I believe 86 points will win it for us.”

Crystal Palace are the next opponents for the Reds next Monday evening, and Evans believes Brendan Rodgers will start with an attacking line up, despite seeing his side fail to score in a match for the first time since November on Sunday.

“If Daniel Sturridge is fit I think he will start against Palace but apart from that I don’t see any need to make a lot of changes,” the 65-year-old added.

“What’s been good about us all season is we are attacking and that’s the way we play, so we’ve just got to stick to how we have played all season.

“That’s what has made us what we are this season and it is great to watch.”

The Reds will be hoping local rivals Everton do them a favour by taking points off Manchester City on Saturday evening, and Evans has backed the Blues to deliver against Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

He added: “Everton have been fantastic this season under Roberto Martinez and have played really well. Everton are capable of beating anybody in this league.

“They are not doing us favours; ultimately if they got a positive result then we would accept it nicely, but they are playing for themselves and their supporters.

“They are still fighting for fourth place and, although that’s becoming harder for them, it’s not impossible. They will do the right thing for Everton and try and win the game.

“As I say, it’s not over. We didn’t have our best day at the office on Sunday, it was difficult, but we have got two games to go and we should still be very positive.

“City haven’t been perfect all year and we are not out of it. We shouldn’t be down and thinking the worst. We have had a great season but we are still close to winning the title.”