Liverpool take on Chelsea in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final on Tuesday evening. Brendan Rodgers is hoping this could be the competition where he wins his first trophy with the Reds. Visiting Chelsea are on top of the league and are tipped as title favorites and the side which can do a possible treble too. The two have met at Anfield in November and Jose Mourinho’s side triumphed 1-2. However, at the time Liverpool were not in the best of forms, far from it actually. Rodgers’ side is doing well currently and only have one defeat in fourteen games in all competitions.
The Northern Irishman believes winning a trophy can spring the Reds to bigger glories and be a big thing for the future. He said that it could be a crucial aspect for the development of the current Liverpool team which is very young and comprises mostly raw talents who could be big in 2-3 years. Rodgers also reiterated that the club’s priority would be to win a trophy this season and qualify for the Champions League next season.
“Our objective is still very much to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League,” he said. “Winning a trophy, for us, would help our future here – what we’re trying to build and deliver,” said the 41 year old manager.
“It would give the younger players a lot of experience. We know these two games are going to be a challenge, but we know that if you want to win the competition you have to beat the best teams.
“At this moment in time, Chelsea are the best in the country. Over two games we’re really looking forward to it, because when we last played them we weren’t in a good moment.
“But now at this point of the season, we’re developing and improving and our confidence is very high. They are two tough games but games that we’re really relishing.
“These are games that excite you and allow you to do well. We see this as an opportunity this season – not just in these two games or in this competition – but an opportunity to win a trophy.
“It’s a group that’s forming, and winning a trophy and winning a competition could really bring the future of the team on. It’s certainly not a threat, it’s an opportunity to get to a final. We know we’ve got to beat the best teams to win it.”
“We see this as an opportunity this season to win a trophy. It’s a group that’s forming and winning a trophy, a competition, could really bring the future of the team on. It’s an opportunity to get to the final.”
Rodgers also added that losing the home leg would not be something they wouldn’t be able to recover from as he believes his side would be competitive in both the legs.
“We actually spoke about that this morning. It is a different type of game, where you don’t need to open up too much.
“Of course you want to focus on winning the game, but the tie is not won or lost in the first leg.
“It’s important that we retain our confidence. We know we are going to have to deal with pressure at moments in the game, but the most important thing for me coming out of this game is making sure we’re in a good position for the second leg.
“It’s not a threat for us, it’s an opportunity to get into a final. And we know we’ve got to beat the best teams to do that.
“They’re very strong, with quality in all areas. It is going to be a good test for us. But in their last six games, they’ve won two, drawn two and lost two. We’ll look on it as an opportunity at home.
“But if we don’t win the game, then it is not all lost. We can still go to Stamford Bridge and win, that’s for sure.”
Jose Mourinho has made some very appreciative comments about Steven Gerrard where he said that he regrets missing out on him in 2005 and hailed the fact that he didn’t move away from Merseyside. He also said that he doesn’t like listening to Chelsea fans sing the Steven Gerrard song which mocks his slip. Rodgers responded to these warm comments by his former boss at Chelsea and said, “Jose is probably talking out of respect for player who is one of the league’s best ever player. The players get a wee bit of stick once or twice. I re-iterate Steven was a big part of why we challenged and it wasn’t because of his slip we lost it. He’s a strong character, knows how to cope and has dealt with it throughout his career.”
Chelsea moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League last weekend. The Blues have also triumphed on their last two visits to Anfield. Brendan Rodgers added that the summer arrivals of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa has helped turn them become such a great unit
“They’ve been there or thereabouts for the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s a very experienced squad, with players that have been around the block and understand how to win.
“And when you add to that a world class midfielder in Fabregas, and then bring in Costa at the top end of the field, scoring goals and working his socks off, it is clear to see the difference those players have made.