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Saturday 30 August 2014

Pulis praises Rodgers and Gerrard

Published 03/05/2014 | 15:12

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Crystal Palace's Manager Tony Pulis was full of praise for Brendan Rodgers and Tony Pulis

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis insists he is not surprised by Liverpool's title challenge given the amount of money the Reds have spent and the number of games they have played this season.

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Palace have achieved their objective of Barclays Premier League survival already but can derail Liverpool's title bid by avoiding defeat at Selhurst Park on Monday.

Brendan Rodgers' side are currently top of the table, three points ahead of Manchester City, who have a superior goal difference and have played a game less.

Liverpool's primary aim at the start of the season was to qualify for the Champions League but Pulis says the Reds' impressive title bid has come as no surprise.

"It's not a surprise - not with [Daniel] Sturridge and [Luis] Suarez and the quality they have there," Pulis said.

"There's been a lot investment in Liverpool, I think people forget that.

"Kenny Dalglish spent good money bringing in the likes of Suarez and Jordan Henderson who have obviously really blossomed.

"And then Brendan has come in and spent decent money as well.

"The biggest bonus for Liverpool is not having any cup competitions or Europe to worry about so they can focus on the league week to week, that helps as well."

The Reds recorded 11 consecutive league victories from February to April before a 2-0 defeat at home to Chelsea last Sunday.

Suarez and Sturridge have spearheaded Liverpool's title bid with 53 goals between them but Pulis believes Steven Gerrard has been at the heart of the club's success.

"Gerrard has been absolutely outstanding," Pulis said.

"He's led by example, he's been a wonderful, wonderful player for England and for Liverpool.

"And the forward line is exceptional, you only have to look at the two centre forwards and the number of goals they've scored between them to know they'll be a threat."

Pulis added: "The two of them have formed a great partnership so it will be tough on Monday but it will great for the supporters to see top, top players like that as well."

Before taking over at Palace in November, Pulis spent seven years at Stoke where his teams were renowned for their commitment and defensive resilience.

Pulis was quick to praise Rodgers for the job he has done at Anfield but says he has been particularly impressed with the way the former Swansea boss has imposed his own identity on the club.

"He's done a smashing job, a wonderful job," Pulis said.

"He's put his identity on the football club which I always enjoy - I always like it when a manager goes in somewhere and you can see their identity.

"Brendan served his apprenticeship at the lower levels which is nice to see and he's a British manager as well which is a bonus."

Palace's surge up the Premier League table since Pulis took over has been based on teamwork and a mean defence that has kept 12 clean sheets under his stewardship.

Rodgers made reference to the Eagles' tactics at Anfield last weekend, suggesting Chelsea's defensive display would be ideal preparation for Palace's "long balls forward" and "long throw-ins".

Pulis believes his team's attacking threat has been undervalued and insists he will be making no changes to his side's style of play for the match on Monday.

"We'll the play the way we play and do what we've always done - it's been very successful with the group we've got," he said.

"We're very, very pleased the way the players have been playing over the past three or four months and I don't see any reason to change it."

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