Liverpool currently lie in the eleventh position in the Premier League and safe to say, they are badly struggling to get going. Two consecutive wins over Stoke and Leicester were thought to start a revival of sorts. That didn’t happen and a goalless draw with Sunderland was followed by Champions League outsing at the hands of Basel and a 3-0 loss and Old Trafford.
The Reds go into the game against Arsenal following Capital One Cup win over Bournemouth, which should give them some confidence, even if its only slight.
The big talking point of the game is Alexis Sanchez. Liverpool and Arsenal were locked in the battle to bring the Chilean and the Gunners were eventually the successful party. Sanchez has made terrific impact since his move from Barcelona.
“He is a world-class player,” Rodgers said in the pre-match conference.
“He was identified as somebody who could come here and be perfect for us. He is a brilliant footballer with outstanding quality and a great work-rate. Arsenal are a top side with top players, but the focus will be on ourselves.”
Mario Balotelli received a one match ban for an anti-Semitic Instagram pos
“We accept the ban, that is fairly clear,” said Brendan Rodgers
When asked whether the Liverpool boss had seen signs of the former Milan player showing greater maturity, Rodgers said, “He is here as a football player and is trying to become a better player.”
Raheem Sterling is expected to start in the striker position for Liverpool and comes into this game with the confidence of scoring twice against Bournemouth mid-week.
Rodgers said, “The kid (Sterling) has been fantastic wherever he’s played this season. He was outstanding the other night. We’ll see what’s in the best interests of the team.”
With the Reds being in such a terrible position, questions are there whether they will be splurging in the transfer market to reinforce the squad. When the question was posed at the Liverpool boss, he replied simply, “I’m not even thinking about that.”
Meanwhile, Simon Mignolet was dropped for the first time since his 2013 move to Liverpool, last week against Manchester Unite. Brad Jones continued in goal in the League Cup tie as well. Even though Mignolet has been a big liability this season, Jones’s performances have shown that he isn’t the solution to the goalkeeping woes as well.
But Rodgers insisted that he will stick with Brad Jones for the Arsenal clash as well saying “There’s no change.”
Speaking about the Arsenal game in particular, Rodgers said that a result against the Gunners will help the team’s confidence.
“Internally, it will continue our spirit and our focus. They are a top side with outstanding players. For us it will good for confidence. But it will be a difficult game
“Arsenal’s form has fluctuated this season. But their pace on the break makes them well equipped to play away.
“They did okay at home last week as well winning 4-1 against Newcastle and they played really well.
“They have outstanding players but we will look to focus on ourselves”, Rodgers added.