Friday 19 January 2018

Brendan Rodgers defends Steven Gerrard over Chelsea slip

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard appears dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield last weekend
Liverpool's Steven Gerrard appears dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield last weekend

Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes there has been too much focus on Steven Gerrard's slip in last week's defeat to Chelsea and says the captain should in no way be held accountable.

The Reds lost 2-0 at home to the Blues in a match where the opponents blunted any attacking threat with a blanket defence and capitalised on a mistake by the Reds captain to score the crucial opening goal.

Gerrard's slip just inside his own half, presenting Demba Ba with a clear run on goal, has been the subject of much analysis and numerous jokes and comment on social media and beyond, but Rodgers attaches no blame to the England international.

"Stevie was like us all - we all hurt," he said when asked whether he had needed to lift his captain's spirits this week.

"Obviously it was a big game. Steven played 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 really good man. I think it's been a bit over-analysed as well - the guy slipped, which can happen to anyone. Unfortunately it led to the goal and that was a big factor in the game.

"However, it happens and we move on."

Last weekend's defeat took the title destiny out of Liverpool's hands and made Manchester City favourites as they are only three points behind with a match in hand and a superior goal difference.

The Reds still lead the Premier League by two points from Chelsea but find themselves in the unusual position of needing near-neighbours Everton to do them a favour when Manuel Pellegrini's side visit Goodison Park on Saturday evening.

"City have a really tough game against Everton and I've read one or two bits about Everton not wanting to do Liverpool a favour," added Rodgers, whose side do not play until Monday at Crystal Palace.

"Make no mistake, Everton in their own right are a great club who have done well this year, particularly at home, and they are fighting for a Champions League position.

"They have fantastic players who can get a result. I'll probably watch the game. I'm not one of these who says they will be on a golf course.

"I love football and I watch every type of game so I am sure I will be watching it somewhere.

"Everton have their own reasons to do their own job. They won't need many more supporters than they already have.

"Of course Everton v Manchester City is a tough game and City have found it difficult there over the last number of years.

"I think most people will look at us because we still have to do our job.

"For us the focus is on ourselves because we can't rely on anyone. We have to do our own job, and our job is to get three points at Crystal Palace.

"Anything other than that is not worth worrying about to be honest. I will focus on Liverpool and Liverpool only."

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