Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers has hoped that his team can bounce back against Norwich with a win and has urged his players to step up in order to cope with Sturridge’s absence.
After a flying start to their Premier League campaign, Liverpool have had a disappointing run in their recent matches. The Reds have won only two of their last six matches, dropping points against the likes of Newcastle, Arsenal, Everton and Hull City. As a result of which, they are now seven points behind the league leaders and are barely holding onto their top four spot.
It was a disappointing outing for Brendan Rodgers’ side against newly promoted Hull. Their defending away from home has left a lot to be desired and this has been pointed out by the statistics of conceding 10 goals in their last four matches on the road. Brendan Rodgers will now hope that his side can bounce back against Norwich in the midweek clash as they enter the busiest part of their calendar this season. Two back to back home games against Norwich and West Ham will provide Liverpool with a good opportunity to build-up some momentum before they face Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of 14 days, along with Cardiff.
“In the time I’ve been here, we’ve never lost two games on the spin, and that’s really down to the positivity of the players and how they can bounce back and recover after a defeat.
“I always have to look at the bigger picture and, for me, the bigger picture is still very bright. We just need to get over the disappointment – which we will do.
“I’ll always demand the best, that’s why we’re at a club like this. We’re not here to be second or great losers, we’re here to win. We’ve shown that we have the capacity to do that consistently now.
“The only way you can respond is to put your head down, take whatever comes and work tirelessly going forward to get the result.
“The expectancy here is to win every game, that’s the reality of being a Liverpool player or manager. Over the course of this year, we’ve been very good.
“We’ve upgraded on a lot of parts of our performance that we wanted to do. We’ve got an exciting team. That wasn’t the case yesterday.
“But over the course of this calendar year, we’ve been excellent. This season at home, we’ve only conceded three goals and one of them a penalty.
“It’s probably just that too often away from home we’ve made mistakes and that has ultimately cost us. There are other games where we’ve been able to muster a draw when we haven’t played so well, but yesterday we just couldn’t do that.
“It was painful, that was the overriding feeling. Of course, when you’ve been doing so well this season, to get that defeat and probably more the performance, it’s disappointing.
“When you perform how we did, we probably didn’t deserve to get anything from it. But in the main, our form has been very good, so I can’t criticise the players too much.
“If there was anyone to blame, blame me as the manager. Today we’re just reflecting, recovering and looking forward to our next two games.
“Over the course of the season, the players have been brilliant – we just had an off day yesterday. We made mistakes and the two own goals were unfortunate for us.
“We go into two home games now, that’s what we’re focusing on. If we get the points, starting with Norwich on Wednesday, then we’re still well on course for where we want to go.
“At this moment in time, we sit fourth; if we win on Wednesday night, we could be second again. That’s our idea – to retain that positivity in our mind and look to get a good performance, which is important for us.” – The Liverpool manager told the press.
Contrary to their away form, Liverpool have been brilliant at home this season and have won five of their six matches at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers has also insisted on the importance of scoring an early goal at home, which helps in settling down the players and the supporters. Maintaining this good home record will be crucial to their season.
“At this level, the first goal is vitally important, and in particular for us, at Anfield. When I came in I could sense that anxiety around [not getting an early goal]. But now, we go into it free-flowing and we always feel that we have a really good mind-set playing at home.
“It’s where we love to play and the earlier the goal, the better for us, because it gives us that confidence to go on and take the initiative in the game. So for us, it will be the same idea starting on Wednesday.
“We had set ourselves some targets over the course of five games and these are the final two in that little block of targets.
“We always want to win our home games. At Anfield this calendar year we’ve had 15 games where we’ve won 10, drawn three and lost two. So our record has been very good. We go into the game with confidence.
“We want to put it right for the supporters as well, because they were hugely disappointed after the game against Hull.
“For us, they’ve been magnificent and they’ve given us great backing and great support and we disappointed them yesterday. So we’ve got two games now to make that right, starting against Norwich.” – Rodgers added.
The former Swansea manager also revealed that Coutinho is fit and available for the match against Norwich, after coming on as a substitute in the second half against Hull City. He also stressed on the importance of Brazilian to his side in unlocking defences.
“Coutinho allows you to penetrate – I think that was one of the things that was missing from our performance yesterday. We were too slow and too predictable.
“Then when he came onto the pitch, people started to run beyond and get forward because he plays the forward pass. And that’s something that we have seen throughout his time here. So it’s great to have him fit.” – Rodgers said.
Liverpool will be without their in-form striker Daniel Sturridge till mid-January and Brendan Rodgers has urged his players to step up as a team to cover for his absence. Sturridge, who has scored nine goals in the league this season, is struggling with an ankle sprain, and this means Luis Suarez will have to shoulder most of the responsibilities of finding the back of the net as there has been a lack of goals from the midfield.
The responsibility is for the people coming in and for the rest of the team. We have to find a different way of getting the result and I’m confident, as I see enough of the players every day, to know that we will fight in order to do that.
“Daniel is going to be out for a period of time. But we’ll cope. It’s the responsibility of everyone. We can’t rely on one player – it has to be about the team and that’s what we’ll focus on.
“When you twist your ankle like Daniel has done, it probably surprised us how serious it was. But the scans don’t lie. It’s just really unfortunate – he has found a home here that he loves. He’s found that he loves playing at Anfield and he loves the club.
“When you’re that level of player, the idea is to be fit every day and to play in every game. And I think he has shown that when he plays, his goal record is fantastic.
“We just hope he can get back quickly. He recovers very well. We’ll soldier on with what we have and the players, I know, will give absolutely everything.
“Of course, we’re a better team whenever we have both [Sturridge and Luis Suarez] at the top of their game. That’s been the whole talk since Luis came back – their partnership, their relationship and how they have combined.
“Daniel gives you that explosive speed and power and that combination [with Luis]. But like we have done in the past, we’ll find different ways to win. And that’s our idea. I think the important thing for us is just to refocus back on our performance.
“But we’re not going to succeed if we can only rely on those two. We now have to find a different way to win games. There’s a responsibility for the whole.” – Rodgers explained.