Rodgers – United win was a statement

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Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool showed a statement of intent with their 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.


The victory made it five straight wins for Rodgers men, a run of results that has lifted them firmly into title contention.

And the Reds boss believes the manner in which they beat the reigning Premier League champions will have sent out a message to their title rivals.

Brendan Rodgers

“It was a big statement. Old Trafford has been a notoriously difficult place over many years but we played with such dominance,” he told the Liverpool Echo.

“It was United’s ground, mostly their supporters but it was our ball. We controlled the game.

“We had a beautiful arrogance in our game. The intensity at which we pressed and some of the imagination in our football was great. Defensively, we were very strong.

“We showed the level we’re at in terms of work-rate both with and without the ball. We came off Old Trafford thinking we won 3-0 but could have had five or six. When we played at home against Arsenal we scored five but could have had seven or eight.

“We got five away to Tottenham when it could have been six or seven, and four at home to Everton when it could have been six or seven. It’s remarkable when you put it into context.

“As manager, it’s great to lead these players into these arenas and see them perform like that. The neutrals are looking at us and enjoying what they’re seeing.”


Despite an unforgettable performance and result at Old Trafford, Rodgers is keen to stress his players are fully focused on claiming three points at Cardiff City tomorrow.

“Last weekend was a brilliant day for the supporters but after a couple of days to enjoy it, it’s been back to work this week,” he said.

“All our focus is purely on Cardiff City. That has been our world this week. There have been no thoughts of anything else.

“We haven’t talked about the title, we’re just enjoying how we are playing and working.

“For me it’s always been about the next game. There is no point worrying about Sunderland next Wednesday when we’ve got a massive game on Saturday.

“The pressure and expectation doesn’t change when you play for Liverpool – it’s there both home and away every game.

“It’s great for the supporters to be dreaming and they take great pride in what they’re seeing. The level of our game is improving all the time but we haven’t achieved anything yet.

“It’s been a difficult season for Cardiff but they have some excellent players and I know it will be a tough game. If we keep the intensity, the foundation of our work and play with the control we have done then it gives us the opportunity to get another three points.”

Rodgers has come in for plenty of praise of late for the manner in which he has transformed the Reds into title contenders, but insists the players should be given the credit for the efforts they have put in.

“We have a plan for each player and we’re committed to helping them become the best they can be, but it’s the players’ responsibility. The crown is on their head – they are the kings of their own destiny,” he said.

“If they listen and learn like they have been doing then in this environment they can only improve.”


Rodgers delighted with Gerrard comments

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Brendan Rodgers has revealed comments earlier in the week from Steven Gerrard that described the Liverpool boss as a ‘revelation’ have made him ‘very happy.’

Gerrard led the praise for the Reds boss following the 3-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday, describing Rodgers as the best man-manager he has played under during his career.

Steven Gerrard

“He has been a revelation,” the skipper said earlier this week. “He’s a young coach who has been there and earned the right to be Liverpool manager.

“From week to week he is helping us improve and get better, and he has been an absolute breath of fresh air to this football club.

“He manages every single player differently, he knows we have different characters in the dressing room and his man-to-man, one-on-one management is the best I have known.”


Rodgers appreciated the words from his captain, who he described as an ‘iconic figure’ at the club.

“It makes me very happy,” the boss told his pre-Cardiff City press conference.

“He’s the captain, who has been an iconic figure at this club for many years and has worked with so many great managers, so it’s very nice for someone with such status to say those words.

“As a manager, you aim to earn the respect of the players; you don’t necessarily need to be liked, just so long as you are respected.

“I feel really at home here, I can’t really think of being anywhere else. This is a wonderful football club and hopefully as time goes on and the philosophy becomes second nature, we continue to do better and advance.”

 

Rodgers has words of praise for ‘courageous’ Allen

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Brendan Rodgers has revealed his delight at the recent performances of Joe Allen in the heart of the Liverpool midfield.

The Welsh international has starred in impressive back-to-back away wins over Southampton and Manchester United, and Rodgers believes there is plenty more to come from the 24-year-old.

He commented on Thursday: “Joe was outstanding at Old Trafford. I believe that he is one of the top Premier League talents.

Allen/Rodgers

“He came in here and started his first season remarkably well; in the first three months, I think he was the supporters’ Player of the Month.

“He then had a difficult period, came back and did very well in training and then got injured. His first season was a bit up and down, just purely because of injury.


“But I know his talent better than anyone. He had a great pre-season but unfortunately then got injured again. He’s such a courageous player.

“At Old Trafford, he covered more ground than anyone. The way he presses the ball and looks after the ball; in this country, sometimes it can be frowned upon.

“People look for midfield players that are either scoring goals and wanting goals or smashing into challenges.

“Joe is a really intelligent footballer; he understands the ball, he protects the ball really well for the team, and his work-rate and intensity is incredible.”

The boss also added that he hopes to see more of the same from Allen when the Reds travel to Cardiff City this weekend.

Rodgers added: “He’s going to prove to be an outstanding player here. At the moment, he’s nearly at the top of his game and performing very well. I’m hopeful that will continue at the weekend.”

 

Skrtel: Everyone can see the spirit

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Martin Skrtel believes the goal celebrations from himself and his Liverpool teammates show the team spirit and togetherness in the squad at the moment.

The Slovakian has been at the forefront of some iconic goal celebrations this season, and was the first on the scene, on the shoulders of Luis Suarez after he netted the third in the 3-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday.

Martin Skrtel He was also snapped on the shoulders of Suarez as the Reds celebrated Daniel Sturridges second strike in the 4-0 win over Everton in January, although the Slovakian insists the celebrations are not choreographed.

“Obviously it was nothing planned before,” he explained.

“But when we scored in the game against Everton – and now against United – you go mad after those goals, so it was something I’d done before and now again. I’m glad the fans liked it!

“It says everything [about the team spirit]. Everyone can see when we celebrate that everyone – every single player – is together. We’re happy scoring goals and winning games.

“Everyone can see the spirit in the team and the changing room is perfect now.”

Skrtel has been at the centre of some unforgettable celebrations this season, with his two goal performance against Arsenal another highlight, although he insists that was not his favourite of the season.

“I think the Everton one,” he considered. “I think it was [taken] after the third goal we scored that night, and it was special.

“I just jumped on the lads, but I didn’t expect them to stand up for 10 seconds! It was special, the best one so far.

“I could pick a few games – we’ve mentioned the Everton game, the game against United, obviously the game against Arsenal when I scored two goals…all of them were great victories.

“But every victory is important for us because we are fighting for our targets and every single point is very important for us. We’re enjoying every single game and every single goal.”

 

Fowler excited by in form Reds

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Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler believes the Reds exciting brand of attacking football means they thoroughly deserve their second place position in the Barclays Premier League.

The Reds go into the final nine games of the season four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, and Fowler believes the form shown by Brendan Rodgers side has reason for supporters to get excited.

Coutinho

“At the start of the season Liverpool’s aim was to get into the top four,” said the 38-year-old.

“That was always going to be tough because the squad’s not as [deep] as a lot of the teams in the Premier League. I hope I’m right in saying this but I think they’re nailed on for a Champions League [spot].

“They deserve to be there. At the time now, they are second in the league, they are not lucky, they are there on merit and they’ve been exciting and they’re good to watch this year.

“It’s going to be tough because Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal are all good sides and potentially got bigger and better squads but Liverpool are there on merit and I don’t see any reason why they can’t win it. It will be tough but they have as good a chance as anyone else.”

Reds coach warns nothing has been achieved yet

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Liverpool coach Mike Marsh has called on the team to remain focused for the final nine games of the season, warning that nothing has been achieved yet.

The Reds have surpassed expectations this season, and currently occupy second place in the Premier League, trailing leaders Chelsea by four points with a game in hand.

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool also lead fifth placed Tottenham by nine points and also have a game in hand, meaning they look strong favourites to achieve a top four finish – the primary target set out at the start of the season.

“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “We have nine games to go and are in the Champions League places.

“It has been well documented that we started the season wanting to finish in the top four and we are in with a shout of that. Anything more than a top-four finish would be a bonus.

“We are taking each game as it comes and just trying to win every game.

“We have nine games left and are trying to get as many points as we can and see where that takes us. Our goals haven’t changed since the start of the season.

“We are second with nine games to go and so are on course to get back in the Champions League; anything better than that would be fantastic.”

 

Sterling: I’m in the zone

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Raheem Sterling says he is focused and in the zone for the Reds remaining nine Premier League matches of the season.

The 19-year-old has been a first team regular since early December, and has thrived in for the Reds in an attacking role alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

Sterling has also fired six Premier League goals this season, including a double in the recent 5-1 rout of Arsenal, which has further highlighted his progress.

Raheem Sterling

He explained: “When you train with players like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, it’s a bit nerve-wracking at first but you get used to it and start expressing yourself.

“I’m in that zone now where I can express myself and come out of my shell. I’m really settled and happy to be in the team.”

The England international was also keen to highlight the impact Brendan Rodgers has had on his game since taking charge of the Reds 18 months ago.

Sterling continued: “I’d say he has got me settled off the pitch and he’s made me realise that I’m here on merit because of what I’ve done in the youth team.

“He’s told me to do what I’ve been doing in the youth team and just be confident and get on the ball.”

Sterling delivered another fine performance during the Reds latest victory over Manchester United, although this time he featured at the tip of a diamond formation deployed by Rodgers, rather than out wide.

“Everyone is excited by the big win,” Sterling reflected, before lifting the lid on the positive atmosphere around the club.

“To go to Old Trafford and score three goals is great and we’re really happy with the performance, but the most important thing is to get the three points.

“It was a great atmosphere after the game in the changing room. Most games we try to attack but at the weekend we did what we need to do defensively and then counter-attacked.

“We try to take every game slowly. The United game we just wanted to try our best and get the three points.

“We will try to take it step by step and then hopefully we will be where we need to be at the end of the season – right up there at the top of the table.”

 

Rodgers: Gerrard is peerless

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Brendan Rodgers reserved special praise for captain Steven Gerrard following the Reds 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Reds boss was delighted with another fine performance from his side, and a result which kept them firmly in the title race.

Brendan Rodgers

Gerrard put in a man of the match performance, striking two perfect penalties either side of half time, before hitting the woodwork with a third late on.

“It’s just a continuation of adjectives for Steven,” the Northern Irishman reflected.

“He’s a wonderful professional, peerless in many ways and an incredible captain for us. He’s just so focused and so calm under pressure. He was incredible.”

Rodgers continued: “It was a real team performance. The diamond in midfield worked tirelessly – Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen on the sides of the diamond blocking spaces, pressing and working, young Raheem [Sterling] playing at the top.

“The two guys up front speak for themselves, they’re a real threat. Maybe if we had shown that final pass a bit more, we could have had more goals. But it was an outstanding team performance and a great result.

“It confirms that we’re getting better and confirms that we can go to any arena. 2009 was the last time that Liverpool won here.

“I know that was a convincing performance that day, but this will be equally, if not more. The supporters really enjoyed that. It’s a great result; we just need to stay calm, stay focused and get ready for next weekend.”

 

 

Carra: That was twice as good as 2009

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Jamie Carragher has revealed he text Steven Gerrard in the aftermath of Sunday’s 3-0 over Manchester United at Old Trafford with the words: “Twice as good as 2009.”

Carragher was a part of the last Liverpool side to win at Old Trafford, as Rafael Benitez oversaw a 1-4 victory five years ago.

However, despite not being a part of Sunday’s win, Carragher was adamant the 3-0 victory over the Reds bitterest of rivals was even sweeter.

liverpool

“On my way home from White Hart Lane on Sunday evening, I sent Steven Gerrard a message as I do after most Liverpool games,” Carragher wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

“Normally I’ll ask him how he felt the match went or for his views on any major talking points but this time, having watched Liverpool dismantle Manchester United, no questions needed answering. So I punched the words ‘Twice as good as 2009’ into my phone.

“I know what it is like to go to Old Trafford and win by three goals but I couldn’t tell you how it feels to go there, play United off the park and make them spend the last 10 minutes chasing shadows as Liverpool’s ecstatic fans shout ‘Ole!’ with each tormenting pass.

“When we won 4-1 in March 2009, the final score was a little distorted.

“Don’t get me wrong, our display was superb but we had to deal with spells of pressure, trailed to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and only pulled away in the last 13 minutes with two goals after Nemanja Vidic had been sent off.

“I remember the celebrations in the away end being raucous and we were delighted as we walked off the pitch, yet our elation was tempered.

“We were still four points behind United, having played a game more. We hoped we would win the title but they still held the upper hand.

“Sunday’s performance, however, was completely different. United may be an inferior side to the team they were five years ago but that should not detract one bit from what Liverpool did to them.

“The intent was there from the first kick and 6-0 at the final whistle wouldn’t have been flattering.”

Carragher also reckons Sunday’s win has established the Reds as genuine title contenders, and claims the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal will be nervous of Liverpool’s threat between now and the end of the season.

“What’s more, the impact of the result and performance will have been felt across Manchester at the Etihad Stadium, reaching Stamford Bridge and the Emirates Stadium in the process. Nobody will dare underestimate Liverpool now,” Carragher continued.

“Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger will have looked at the two games Liverpool have just faced, away trips to United and Southampton, and probably expected them to return with, at best, four points.

“That they have come through them with six unanswered goals, maximum points and confidence soaring will be causing Pellegrini, Mourinho and Wenger concern. The more they get into this race, the more impressive Liverpool look.”

The 36-year-old also reserved praise for former manager Brendan Rodgers, who masterminded another fantastic victory over a bitter rival.

“Full credit to Brendan Rodgers, who is handling the situation supremely well. What you get with Brendan is exactly what you see.

“In his interviews and in the technical area, he never gets over-excited, always remaining in control.

“That’s what you want from a manager – focus and composure, a clear plan and unshakeable belief in his methods.

“He is a coach who thinks progressively, coaxing improvement from his players with encouragement and giving them opportunities.

“We get told constantly about the problems with the British game.

“How players can’t play the right way or retain possession, yet here is a British manager defying the critics and showing it is possible for young players to play with style and great technique.

“He has been repaid with consistent performances and increasingly impressive results and you only have to see how Jon Flanagan, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have come of age during this campaign, maturing from boys to men.”

 

 

 

Gerrard urges owners to offer Rodgers new deal

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Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool’s owners to offer Brendan Rodgers a new contract as soon as possible.

The Reds boss is entering the final 12 months of his three-year-contract which he signed in the summer of 2012 when replacing Kenny Dalglish.

Although there is an option for a year extension in Rodgers current deal, Gerrard hopes Liverpool’s owners will reward the Northern Irishman for a season in which he has transformed the Reds into genuine title contenders.

Steven Gerrard

Rodgers insists he is happy to wait until the end of the season to open negotiations, so as not to provide a distraction to his teams title challenge, although Gerrard voiced his surprise at the fact the club have not already offered a new deal to a manager he described as the finest man-manager he has worked with in football.

The 33-year-old said: “I have been absolutely blown away by his sessions, his tactics and his maturity in the job and I am learning off him every single day.

“When you become an older player you look to see how the manager does certain things and he has been fantastic for myself personally. I am sure the rest of the players would echo what I am saying. I am absolutely delighted he is here and I just hope that there is a lot of movement now in Boston [home to FSG] because they have got to get him signed up as soon as possible.

When players are in this situation with a year to go and you want to keep hold of them so desperately, then the club reacts really quickly and gets it sorted. For me, I think he deserves a very long contract here and he is perfect for this club.”

Gerrard scored two penalties in a man of the match performance as the Reds recorded an impressive 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Reds captain has flourished in a slightly deeper role during the second half of the season, and was full of praise for Rodgers tactical decisions.

“He has been a revelation,” Gerrard said.

“He keeps tweaking and tinkering with the formation and making little subtle changes to personnel and tactics, and it is coming off from week to week. He is a young coach who has been there and earned the right to be Liverpool manager. From week to week he is helping us improve and get better, and he has been an absolute breath of fresh air to this football club.

“He manages every single player differently, he knows we have different characters in the dressing room and his man-to-man, one-on-one management is the best I have known.

He makes you go out on the pitch feeling a million dollars with confidence and belief, and he is a very confident manager. When you play for Liverpool you have to accept pressure, you have to take it on the chin and perform. But when you have a manager who is making you feel good, but who is also not scared to give you a good one-on-one telling-off as well, then he has the perfect ingredients.”

The win at Old Trafford has left the Reds four points behind league leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, and Gerrard insists Liverpool are up for the fight for the remainder of the season.

Gerrard said: “As a team we have to keep making statements. A lot of the so-called experts questioned us before the United game. ‘Are we capable of coming to Manchester United and beating a good team – one that has been performing quite well of late besides the Olympiakos game?’

“I think we answered the question with flying colours. Not just that, but we were slightly disappointed it wasn’t a five- or six-goal thrashing because the way we performed from start to finish, with everybody in the team contributing, was magnificent.”