Sunday 17 December 2017

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers praises 'incredible' display and says heroic failure will be springboard

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Chris Bascombe

LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side’s heroic failure in the Europa League will be the springboard for a radical improvement of his Anfield reign.

The reds went out of Europe on away goals, cancelling out a three-goal deficit but narrowly falling short on a familiarly emotional night on Merseyside.

Brazilian striker Hulk scored what proved the decisive goal for opponents to Zenit St Petersburg, benefiting from a rare lapse by Jamie Carragher on his 150th and final European appearance.

It ends Liverpool’s hopes of winning a trophy this season, but Rodgers is adamant his side still have much to play for between now and May.

“I thought we were incredible,” Rodgers said. “Obviously two down from the first leg and to concede again you might think the tie was over. I think we showed our quality.

"We got three goals, totally dominated and controlled the game and should have had a penalty. We lost the battle but in terms of the war going forward we are very much looking forward to that. Overall we were fantastic.

 “I’m very proud of the club and the players even though we lost the tie. They showed why they’re part of the world’s greatest football family. They could not have done any more. Our season is not finished and won’t be until the final whistle against QPR on the final day.

"You see the level of performance there, now we need to continue as we have since the turn of the year. You can see the players’ hunger and determination and we want to carry that on, scoring goals and creating chances.”

There were words of consolation for Carragher from Rodgers, Liverpool ultimately paying for defensive mistakes in both legs.

“There’s no blame,” he said. “It’s the first mistake I’ve seen him make, and that includes in training. He was brilliant. I’m disappointed for him because he deserved to go into the next round.”

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