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Hillsborough 'family' lend Reds words of inspiration

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Raheem Sterling leads the Liverpool players towards manager Brendan Rodgers after scoring the opening goal at Carrow Road

Raheem Sterling leads the Liverpool players towards manager Brendan Rodgers after scoring the opening goal at Carrow Road

Raheem Sterling leads the Liverpool players towards manager Brendan Rodgers after scoring the opening goal at Carrow Road

Brendan Rodgers used the moving rhetoric of Margaret Aspinall, of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, as further motivation for his title-chasing Liverpool players before the 3-2 win over Norwich City.

"Stress is difficult but stress is also good – it gives you a determination to fight,'' were the words of Ms Aspinall's pinned up on the dressing-room wall at Carrow Road.

Printed in three languages so all the players could understand them, the words were taken from Aspinall's address to the 25th Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield last Tuesday. Ms Aspinall's son James was one of 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough.

"We had the memorial service this week, which was really touching,'' Rodgers said. "We used some words from Margaret Aspinall on the wall, the words she said about stress and how it can prove difficult but also give you determination to fight.

"Before the game we stuck those words on the wall. This is a club that is one with those who fought to achieve their ultimate goal.''

QUALITY

Of the victory over Norwich, Rodgers said: "It's a brilliant win for us. It was always going to be a difficult game for us but we showed everything. We had quality in our play; our possession, positioning and movement in the first half was exceptional.

"And in the second half we had to show character, resilience and determination and we showed that in abundance.

"We saw every characteristic I want in the team, wonderful invention and creativity, courage and arrogance on the ball, with young players and senior ones, all with the strength to express themselves, but also able to dig in and fight away from home.

"The supporters are really proud of watching how we attack and the verve we show. That's what this iconic club is about.

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"We've tried to do it in the right spirit, playing attacking football, with a team set up to attack with the ball.

"This means we can't finish lower than third, which guarantees Champions League football. I don't think anybody would have expected that at the start of the season and it shows the magnitude of the effort we've put in and the quality we've shown.''

Rodgers does not feel any pressure. "I enjoy it. It's brilliant. I've worked a long time as a young coach, learning different ideas about the game. I arrived in management after a 15-year apprenticeship. I learnt never to get too carried away by a win or too disappointed by a defeat. My aim is to make my players better and as a consequence win games.

"I know my players give me everything. We've won 11 on the spin and that's an incredible achievement. Nobody has helped us to win 11 on the spin or score 96 goals.''

Liverpool were checking into their hotel on Saturday evening when their closest rivals, Chelsea, were losing to Sunderland, ending Jose Mourinho's 77-game unbeaten home record at Stamford Bridge in the league. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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