Liverpool are currently fourth in the table with a three point gap over Tottenham Hotspur. The Reds have twelve matches left in the season and have Swansea on their agenda next, with Rodgers taking on his old team at home on Sunday
At his pre-match press conference, Rodgers was quizzed on the importance of holding onto that position in the club’s quest of Champions League next season. The Northern Irishman responded:
“It’s vitally important – for us to go to that next level, that’s where we need to be. I took over a team that was eighth, and that’s what we’ve been building towards over the last 18 months”.
Liverpool’s public deadline day pursuit of Yevhen Konoplyanka ended in disappointment and the player himself and Liverpool both made statements regarding a potential summer move. However, when asked if he had watched the Spurs loss and whether Konoplyanka had caught his eye, Rodgers said that he didn’t watch the match and that Liverpool had a lot of potential summer targets:
“I didn’t see the game.
“We’ve got lots of people that we’re looking at and we’ll assess where we’re at at the end of the season and take it from there.”
“If we can get to that elite competition, then of course it attracts a different type of player as well. It’s very important and hopefully it will be this year.”
Responding to the club’s FA Cup 2-1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal last weekend, Rodgers said:
“Last week we were disappointed to go out the cup. I think you see in the players reactions after the game. Our performance levels were really good. But now focusses us on what’s remaining.
“Ideally we would have more games and be in more competitions but gives us chance to ensure players fitness levels are correct and focus on one game.”
Liverpool have made Anfield a fortress this season, with 11 wins from 13 games at home. Rodgers was asked about the home fear factor which Liverpool pose right now. The Liverpool boss said:
“Our approach is very aggressive. We go into every game, and in particular our home games, looking to own the pitch.
“It’s our home ground. It’s our changing rooms, it’s our field and it’s our supporters. So we have to play like we own it.
“That’s always been the mantra here for many, many years. It’s one that we go in thinking about ourselves. We respect the opponent that we play – every game at this level is tough. But we back ourselves now and we expect to win.
“I think it’s dealing with that pressure, which has really helped. We’ve got good organisation. Everyone knows their function in the team and everyone is working tirelessly in order to achieve the results.”
Brendan Rodgers also spoke about facing Gary Monk as his Swansea counterpart, who was club captain when Rodgers was manager of the club between 2010 and 2012.
The Liverpool boss said:
“I speak a lot with the senior players whatever team I’m at and obviously at the time I was there he was a magnificent captain for me. In a lot of our conversations, which were very open, I said to him that I thought he should start thinking about his coaching, two to three years before he finishes playing.
“He was always a bright lad, always very honest and loyal as a captain, but he was one I could see having a future in coaching and management if he wanted to go down that route. Of course it’s probably come unexpectedly, especially being put into the Premier League, but he’s looked very calm and seems to be enjoying it.The players have responded to him. He’ll have gained respect because of his status as a player and he’ll be looking to make that similar impact over time as a coach and manager.
“He’s a great learner and always has been, and I think over the course of the coming games and months he’ll get better.”