Soccer

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Rodgers aims to maintain momentum

Published 17/09/2013|16:56

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Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool can stay around the top of the league

Brendan Rodgers believes his Liverpool side are capable of maintaining their challenge at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, particularly with Luis Suarez close to a return to action.

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Monday's 2-2 draw with Swansea, dominated by Jonjo Shelvey as the former Liverpool midfielder had a hand in all four goals, sent the Reds back to the summit of the standings by a single point as the Merseysiders continue the fine run of form they put together towards the end of last term.

Few are expecting the Anfield side to launch a fully-fledged title assault, but Rodgers believes they have shown they can keep themselves in the picture with Uruguay international Suarez returning from his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic later this month.

"It's early stages but it keeps the momentum going and in the next couple of weeks we have one of the best strikers in the world coming back.

"You can't look too much at it (being top). But you'd rather be there than be at the bottom and what it does is that the more you are up there the more aggression and will and desire you have to stay there.

"It's only four games in, but we've had four tough games and we have only lost once in the last 16 odd games so we are getting a level of consistency and that was the biggest thing for me.

"Coming here there was no consistency in the performance and now we are just churning out wins and if we can't win we are drawing games with resilient performances like in the last 25 minutes here.

"But I believe we will get better and more fluent as the season goes on so we are happy to be there and it gives us the fight to stay there."

For Swansea, the meeting with Liverpool kicked off a testing week which includes a Europa League trip to Valencia and Sunday's league visit to Crystal Palace.

But Rodgers believes his former club can cope with the demands of fighting in four separate competitions.

He said: "It is a tough ask but the one thing I'd say Swansea have which we did not have last year is a strong squad.

"Our squad was very thin last year and we were trying to operate on four fronts. You look through this squad and there is a strong squad here and some of the players have been here for a while and others that are new in.

"The Europa League certainly tests your squad. It will be a tough game against Valencia but I am sure Michael will want to do well in the competition, but then they come back and have got another tough game at the weekend.

"But I am sure they will cope. They have got a good squad and I hope they do well."

Swans boss Michael Laudrup is well aware of the demands his team face, but felt their performance against Liverpool was an encouraging start to a congested run of fixtures.

He said: "The second half was our best performance so far this season. It was very important for us to produce that as it is the first of seven games in less than three weeks.

"We have the four Premier League games, two in the Europa League and a Capital One Cup game as well. So to start like this with a good result against a good team and an excellent performance is great for us to build on."

Press Association

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