Rodgers: We must do 'dirty stuff' to beat Cherries
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his players will need to be more motivated against Bournemouth in their FA Cup fourth-round tie today than they would be against their Premier League top-four rivals.
Having been below their best in the previous round at home to League One Oldham, who knocked them out at this stage last year, the Cherries at the Goldsands Stadium will be more of a test.
Rodgers admitted he picked the wrong team for last weekend's 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, when his side had to come from two goals down after being over-run in midfield, and says they will have to do the "dirty stuff" well against the Championship side to progress.
"Whatever your motivation is for games against Manchester United or Chelsea, you have to go five times more in a game like this because they're such tough games," he said.
"The players are under no illusions that for us to get through we have to be mentally prepared to up the tempo. Last year I didn't underestimate Oldham, we just had to make the changes (to the team), and we suffered for it.
"When you're Liverpool and you're playing well, you're always going to be a scalp as players at that level want to show they can play against you at your level. We saw that against Oldham, who may be in League One, but have some good players who kept the game in the balance all the way through.
"It's for us to ensure our mentality is right and that we're willing to do the dirty stuff and the ugly bits in the game and then you look for your quality to come through."
It will be difficult for Rodgers to get his team selection wrong as injuries and illness meant he was working with only 15 players this week. That means he will have to call on some youngsters who have been around the fringes of the first-team squad – the likes of Jordon Ibe, Brad Smith and Jordan Rossiter – to boost his numbers.
And while an away tie against underdogs may be a test for such inexperienced players, Rodgers is confident they will stand up to the challenge.
"You will never know until you put young players in but it is certainly one where we will have a lot of our experienced players about," added the Reds boss.
"It can be a good time to put them in as long as they are surrounded by senior players."
There will be a change in goal as Brad Jones resumes cup duties in place of first-choice Simon Mignolet, who has had a shaky few weeks.
Defensively Liverpool have been exposed recently, conceding five in their last two matches, but Rodgers puts much of that down to the continuing injuries – Glen Johnson the latest to be sidelined – which have prevented him fielding a settled back four.
BOURNEMOUTH V LIVERPOOL, LIVE, UTV, 12.45