Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers has praised his midfield trio of Henderson, Allen and Lucas and stressed on how Suarez has accepted the responsibilities of helping out the younger players in the squad.
Liverpool proved their credentials as a side once again with a world class performance against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. Brendan Rodgers’ men are currently second in the league table and are now sure to be considered among the title contenders as we experience one of the most open Premier League campaigns in recent times. With Arsenal and Chelsea about to face each other on Monday, Liverpool have a wonderful opportunity to lead the points table as they prepare to host Cardiff City at Anfield tomorrow.
Brendan Rodgers is still without some key first team players as the likes of Gerrard, Sturridge and Enrique are yet to recover from their fitness concerns, but the former Swansea manager would have been encouraged by the how well his side performed without them against Spurs. With Henderson, Allen and Lucas performing at their best, Liverpool dominated the midfield in that game and Steven Gerrard was hardly missed. Rodgers has praised the dynamic trio and said that his side cannot depend on just one player.
“I thought the three of them and how they complemented each other was outstanding.
“You had Lucas, who was in that controlling role. He did his job with the ball, moving into different lines to receive it and he was aggressive when he didn’t have it.
“Joe is a dynamic player and he can control the possession while he’s being aggressive in his pressure.
“Jordan is one who is comfortable on the ball with great running ability to get in and get goals. I thought the dynamic of the three was very, very good. We had a great performance, but what you can’t rule out is the presence and the quality of Steven Gerrard.
“This guy is still a wonderful player. He’s still the big captain of this club. He’s a monumental figure here and I’ve always said that if he’s in the team, Liverpool is a better team.
“It’s just unfortunate that he’s injured at the moment. He’s working very well to get back. But what we showed was that it’s about the team. We can’t rely on one player.
“It really has to be about the model of our game. If we have top players in that, then of course it will make it better.” – The Liverpool manager told the press.
Rodgers also stressed on the ‘feel good’ factor in the club at this moment and insisted that they must maintain this level of performance and there is no place for complacency.
“If any game defines what we’re trying to do here in terms of our football, it was against Tottenham where the team was outstanding in every element. We feel that we’re improving. That’s what we have been looking to do all the way along on the journey here.
“I’ve always been concerned about the performance, because I know that when we perform well, the results will follow. Right the way through the club it’s been brilliant.
“There’s a real good feel on the field and off the field and the club is progressing. The headlines are about football, which is important. We still feel that there’s a way to go for us.
“It was a statement of how we’ve been working over the last 18 months or so. We’re looking to play the game in a different way and with different ideas of how to play our football, but always with the mentality and the will and determination to win.
“What we showed is that aggression in our game, with and without the ball. That can lead us to winning big games at home or away from home.
“That’s what really pleased me – the performance level and how the players went into what is a really difficult place in White Hart Lane.
“To go there and play the charisma that we showed, as well as that steely determination was important for us. When you win to that level in a big game like that, of course it gives you that belief and confidence.
“I think there’s always a high when you win a big game. After the game on Sunday, I went home and analysed the match twice before going to bed at half three in the morning, because we need to prepare for the next game.” – He added.
Brendan Rodgers also heaped praise on his star striker Luis Suarez, who has been in scintillating form this season. The Liverpool manager revealed how the Uruguayan international has taken on the mantle of being the senior man in the side and is enjoying his football at the moment.
“He’s a man who plays football because of the love of the game. He’s accepting the role and the responsibility that I have given him here as one of the senior players.
“He’s not only a top player; he’s one of the pillars of the group.
“We’ve got a young side. The average age of the team was the lowest it has been for a number of years in the Tottenham game and Luis has taken on that mantle in order to help and support those players, while having that real ‘X’ factor that he has to his game.
“He’s in a good place, his family is in a good place, and long may it continue.” – Rodgers explained.
Rodgers also insisted that although Liverpool do have a relatively small squad at the moment, they would only buy if the players available are better than what they already have.
“The squad we have at the moment is still relatively small, we have got a few players out.
“But I’ll always look from within, like I have done whenever we have had injuries, when young Jon Flanagan came into the team or Raheem Sterling came into the team.
“Of course, we would want to reinforce the group, but it has to be players that are clearly better than what we have that can come in and help the group.
“[In terms of] players going out, we don’t have to move anyone out. If players aren’t in the team, then they need to fight to get back in the team. That’s the beauty of the squad.
“You saw the spirit in our team as well at the weekend. If you looked at our bench when we were scoring the goals and when we were winning, it was a happy bench.
“I’ve always said to the players that aren’t playing that it’s their responsibility to support the players that are playing. If you’re out of the team, of course it’s difficult and I always acknowledge and recognise that by supporting them.
“But the players that are out of the team, it’s their job to support the players that are playing, because it’s difficult for them. They all work together; I select the team.
“There’s very much a togetherness here, and that’s one of the key facets of the season so far.” – He said ahead of their fixture against Cardiff.
At a time where a lot of managers have been sacked by Premier League clubs, Rodgers expressed his relief at been at a club which has supported him so well.
“When I look at managers and decisions that have been made, it makes me really appreciate the decision I made to come here with the owners.
“They have been so supportive of me in my time here, but ultimately had a strategy and a vision in terms of how they wanted to work. They have brought someone in and trusted them to give them that time to implement it.
“We still have a way to go in order to be where I would want us to be, but I think it’s clear that we’re making progress – and you have to give the owners huge credit for that. Never once have I ever felt under any pressure.
“Even in the most difficult moments – the first five or six months here, when the transition was really taking place in terms of our identity and we didn’t have a lot of coaching time with the players on the field – they were very strong and committed in terms of the choice they made.
“Hopefully as much as for anyone – the supporters and the players – over the longer term they will get their rewards for that, because they have shown that, strategically, they know where they want the club to go and they are prepared to give it time to evolve.” – Rodgers continued.
The manager also disclosed that there are no fresh injury concerns ahead of their upcoming clash and Steven Gerrard is making good progress in his recovery.
“Steven is coming along very well, he is outside working and running. For the other players, it is as it was – there are no fresh injuries.” – He said.