Sport Soccer

Saturday 18 November 2017

Rodgers plays down talk of title challenge

Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool have yet to lose this season
Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool have yet to lose this season

Jamie Holland

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he has not even considered the prospect of making an unexpected title challenge despite the club setting the early Premier League pace.

The Reds were the last top-flight side to surrender their 100pc record in Monday's 2-2 draw at Swansea but the point gained was enough to take them back to the summit.

Despite an impressive start, Rodgers knows bigger tests lie ahead and he urged caution in making any snap judgments for another six matches.

But there is no doubt their early form has generated additional positivity in and around the club as they seek to secure a return to the Champions League after a four-year absence.

"I haven't even considered that (a title challenge) at all – the only focus is the next game," said Rodgers.

"We'll assess it after 10 games, see where we sit there, then the halfway point and we'll probably have a more realistic idea of where we can be.

"At this moment, we've played four – won three and drawn one – and we're in a good moment.

"There's a lot more to come. We've made a good start. People will talk that it's early stages, as will I, but these are hurdles you have to get over.

"We're on 10 points already; at the end of last season we finished on 61 points and we talked about those extra 10 points that might have taken us into the Champions League – at this early stage we've got them.

"I believe the team has still got a lot of improvements to make because of the nature of what I've seen in the games and the potential we have in the players.

"We've got to sustain that but I'm really happy that in these early stages we've shown at least potential.

"I think that potential can grow even more."

Liverpool conceded their first goals of the league campaign at the Liberty Stadium, having won their opening three matches 1-0 – their defensive record has improved markedly since the back end of last season.

But Rodgers stressed there had been no significant change in the things he was asking the team to do and their progress, which sees them on an unbeaten league run of 12 matches spanning this campaign and the last, was more about familiarity.

Liverpool v Southampton,

Live, Setanta Sports 1, 3.0

Irish Independent

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