Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has stated that Demba Ba won’t bring back bad memories as he returns to Anfield for the first time since his goal delivered a lethal blow to Liverpool’s chances of a first title in 24 years last season.
Ba scored at the Kop End after Steven Gerrard had slipped when Liverpool hosted Chelsea, and the visitors delivered the knockout blow in injury time through Willian with the Reds frustrated by Jose Mourinho’s side allowing Manchester City to overtake them.
The Senegal international has scored 18 goals in 20 starts this season which include five in four Europa League games, and will be spearheading Besiktas’ attack on Thursday.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of the match, Rodgers said, a It wona t stimulate any bad memories for me. At the time (last April) he scored a goal, which was a good goal, but he has scored many good goals in his career.”
a We just see him as a threat that we will pay respect to but nothing more than that.
a He had a very good period here in England, he is a wonderful player, who has good touch and technique and he scores goals. He has gone to Besiktas and done well.a
Liverpool have fallen into the Europa League after failing to qualify from their Champions League group which included Real Madrid, Basel and FC Ludogorets. When asked about the pressures of competing on different fronts, the Liverpool manager ascertained that they wanted to do well on all fronts.
a I am not really thinking about that,a he said. a One of the objectives for us was to win a trophy and you will have seen from the efforts we have put into the cup competitions we want to do everything we can do that.
a This competition is no different; it is one we want to do well in.”
a It is a tough game against Besiktas, a team very strong in their own country, with good experience of playing games in this country, but for us it is about taking a lead into the second leg.
a We are very confident in terms of our performance. In terms of the impact further on our focus is really on the next game and the players over a number of games have been absolutely fantastic so we want to continue with that mentality and performance level.a
The return leg in Turkey will be played next Thursday as the fixture list piles up.