Brendan Rodgers spoke to the media ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup clash against Arsenal on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers explained to the media that he doesn’t need to or want to rest important players for the fifth round FA Cup clash against Arsenal as his club wants to go till to the final of the cup and don’t have the disadvantage of playing a match in the middle of the week.
“We want to win the FA Cup. We don’t have a midweek game so we can go as strong as we want to go. We won’t need to rest anyone”
Rodgers spoke about last season, his first one in charge of the Reds, and his rotation policy in Cup competitions:
“When I made too many changes, we weren’t good enough. This year we wanted to do well in Cup competitions.
“We want to get to Wembley, not for the semi-final, for the Final.”
Rodgers’ Liverpool came back twice from behind and went on to win the midweek match against Fulham at Craven Cottage and the Northern Irishman was clearly very pleased with the character his team showed:
“The result gave us great confidence. The most pleasing aspect was our character to come from behind twice. We kept probing, we kept passing. We didn’t panic or throw balls into the box and eventually we got the penalty.”
There was news of Rodgers involved in a heated exhange of words with Fulham’s assistant manager Ray Wilkins. The Liverpool manager clarified:
“No bust-up at all. Ray’s a good man and one of the nicest guys I’ve met in football. There was no bust-up, just a disagreement on the side about something that took place during the game. But anyone who knows me knows I’m not like that and I prefer to concentrate on the game on the pitch.”
Rodgers spoke about Liverpool’s squad availability and whether one could expect to see Glen Johnson playing in the match on Sunday:
“We’re similar to the other night. Johnson not ready for the weekend. Glen Johnson’s working well but I don’t think he’ll be ready for the game this weekend. If he has a good week next week he’ll be very close but he looks fresher and fitter. The period that he has out has really helped him and he now looks in a good condition.”
Rodgers heaped praise on Daniel Sturridge and said:
“Sturridge is up there with Luis as the best finisher in the league. Everyone recognises that when he is through on goal, you’d be surprised if he misses.
“He is outstanding in one versus one situations, and he has great variety in his finishing. Both he and Luis are outstanding goalscorers.
“Daniel has consistently shown that when he’s played, he scores goals. Some goalscorers go through different spells, they might not score for six games, then they will go on a run and get maybe seven in 10.
“Dan shows if he gets into a rhythm of playing games, he scores goals.”
Jose Mourinho spoke about Liverpool being contenders for the title because of the club’s absence from European football. The Chelsea manager said:
“There are teams with more potential than others, obviously. There is another, like Liverpool, with a big advantage with the fact that they don’t play in the Champions League.”
If Brendan has a Chihuahua it is one that trains a lot and rests a lot. The other dogs, they don’t train a lot because they play a lot and they don’t rest because they play every three days”.
Responding to this, Rodgers said:
“It’s getting stupid now, isn’t it? I think when I first came to the club, Jose made the comment that the conditions for us meant it would be a miracle for us to win the league. I don’t think that has changed too much in the last 18 months.
“At this level, you focus on your own team. I don’t think any manager working at this level is frightened to fail, it is one of the things that drives you on.
“Jose is a wonderful manager and has had great success, Wenger in a different way has had his success too. This is the most competitive league in world football, so to be at the top you have to have something about you.
“I don’t think it (the mind games) has too much impact. I can only speak for myself, and it doesn’t affect me. I focus on the players, and let them do the talking on the field. It’s the manager’s job to release the pressure.
“The players are concentrated on their work. It may affect some players, but the majority have a strong mentality, and therefore it goes over their head.”
“I think you guys [media] will make more of it than what it actually is.
“I don’t think it has too much effect. It means nothing to me. I only focus on the players and let them do them do the talking on the pitch.
“The job of the managers is to release the pressure to allow the players to play.It may effect some players but most strong are enough to let it go over their heads.”
The Liverpool manager also said that Liverpool were not going to be complacent about the visit to the Emirates just because of the club’s 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal last week at Anfield.
“It’s a different game, it’s a different competition away from home but I trust the players.
“We know it’s going to be a difficult game, there’s no question about that. But we came out of the game last weekend with confidence and belief.”