Thursday 18 January 2018

Rodgers: Title tilt won't alter approach

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: 'When we play, we play with dominance'
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: 'When we play, we play with dominance'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists the pressure of the title race will not diminish his side's determination to attack and dominate opponents.

The Reds are on a 10-match unbeaten streak in the league in which they have taken 26 points from a possible 30 and amassed a goal difference of +20.

They are the Premier League's top scorers with 76 goals and in Luis Suarez (25) and Daniel Sturridge (18) possess the two leading strikers.

Their aggressive intent was evident in last weekend's 3-0 win at Old Trafford which closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points with a match in hand.

Momentum is behind the team and Rodgers stressed that just because they were in contention for their first title in 24 years it would not have an effect on the way they played.

"For us there is no change. There is no pressure. The expectancy here is to win every game," he said. "I've always said the second half of the season suits us because of the nature of how we play. We have a game based on dominance of the ball and dangerous possession. That has only increased in the second half of the season and it certainly won't decrease.

"There are not too many arenas bigger in the world than Old Trafford and last weekend it was Manchester United's ground, it was mostly Manchester United's supporters but it was our ball and our game and we controlled the game.

"We are one of the world's biggest clubs so when we play, we play with dominance. It is an ongoing part of our methodology. We work without the ball to press and suffocate our opponents and with the ball to show charisma and arrogance.

"It highlights the confidence within the team, and to do so in such a big arena (last weekend) was great.

"There is no fear with young players and it is my job to remove any fear out of the game and let them play to a tactical plan and express themselves.

"People of my generation and before have known Liverpool as a world-renowned football club and I think it is great for football – not just in England but worldwide – that we are challenging for trophies.

"This is one of the most iconic football clubs in the world and it is my job, along with the staff here, to push it up into those echelons of the game where it belongs."

While Liverpool's win at Old Trafford resonated around the Premier League and beyond Rodgers insists he and his players are not getting ahead of themselves.

"We had a wonderful result and performance at Old Trafford but there hasn't been any talk about winning the title," he said. "We are relaxed but focused. It can become pressure when you look too far ahead, we are looking to Cardiff (tomorrow) – that has been our world this week.

"It is great for the supporters to dream and I think they have great pride in what they are seeing. We have had a very good season, are second in the league, but we haven't done anything yet."

Irish Independent

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