Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 March 2018

Rodgers happy with Reds depth

Brendan Rodgers is happy with the depth of his squad
Brendan Rodgers is happy with the depth of his squad

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes he has more strength in depth at his disposal than ever before.

Reds fans have lamented a lack of Plan B in recent years, never more so than after the home defeat to Chelsea last season which derailed their title charge.

Similar complaints reappeared earlier in the campaign, but now Rodgers believes he has the options to help alter things.

That was underlined on Saturday, when he was able to bring on Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren as Liverpool came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 and reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

"For the first two years we didn't have the possibility to change the momentum of a game - this year we plainly do," Rodgers, whose bench also included Glen Johnson, Javi Manquillo and Fabio Borini, said.

"It's so important in the modern game to have a bench that can come on and affect the game. That happened today (Saturday), which was great."

The bookmakers believes such quality puts Liverpool amongst the favourites for this year's FA Cup.

Their chances have been bolstered by the early exit of a host of Premier League clubs, although Rodgers believes winning it remains a "tough" ask.

"It is important for us," he said. "I said at the beginning of the season that the objective is to win a trophy and be as strong as we can.

"The team is in good condition mentally and physically. We made a couple of changes but the team has been consistent."

Liverpool will find out who they will face in the last-eight on Monday, while on Thursday they start a two-pronged charge on silverware.

The Reds dropped into the Europa League after failing to make it out of their Champions League group and they start their tilt for European glory against Besiktas.

"We want to play as many games as we can," Rodgers said. "It will be tough but when you're winning games it gives you energy.

"We had tough games this week but the players have been brilliant and come through it well.

"Now we'll recover and really look forward to the Europa League because it's a competition that, like the FA Cup, we want to do well in."

As for Palace counterpart Alan Pardew, his goal is a lot more straightforward: Premier League survival.

The defeat to Liverpool was just their second in all competitions since he took over last month, but the recent managerial changes at other relegation-threatened sides has changed the dynamics somewhat.

"A new manager is going to have an impact at some stage," Pardew said.

"Players have got a new challenge, a new start to a degree. Those managers will be using those factors.

"Of course now, it is going to be a real tough race. The prize is getting bigger and bigger each year and the pressure on the managers gets bigger and bigger - and you guys will keep reminding us at every game."

Press Association

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport