Liverpool travel to Sunderland on Saturday and would be hoping the second half of their season is better than the first half.
Liverpool go into this game on the back of a 2-2 draw at home to Leicester City. In the match, the Reds conceded a 2-0 lead and let the lowly visitors go home with a point. A win in the game would have meants that they are only two points behind Arsenal.
Manager Brendan Rodgers was quizzed at his pre-Sunderland press conference about periods in matches where Liverpool have lost their ascendancy and momentum in the game and ultimately invited pressure from their opponents resulting in valuable points being dropped.
“In any game of football, no matter how dominant you are, there’s always a period of pressure that you will come under,” Rodgers told reporters gathered at Melwood.
“It doesn’t matter if you have the ball a lot of the game, you still have to defend at some points in that game and, of course, you have to remain calm.
“I think for us, the single biggest thing has been mistakes. It’s not so much structurally, we have a tendency at times to make mistakes and that ultimately has cost us.
“I think that’s something that we work hard on and we look to eradicate from the game. From the Crystal Palace game, we needed to change. We needed to get back our model of work and from that, we’ve slowly got back to a decent level again.
“There’s still a lot of work to do. But part of that is ensuring that we don’t give away silly goals. That’s something that every coach or manager will tell you is continuous.”
Liverpool have a Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea after next weekend’s Premier League game against Aston Villa. The first leg of the Chelsea game is at home and after four days, the Reds host Bolton at home in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Three days later, Brendan Rodgers’ men will travel to London to face the Blues in the second leg of the semi-final. February will see the Reds kickstart their Europa League campaign with a return to Istanbul to face Besiktas. Premier League fixtures will also, only get bigger and more important now and Liverpool currently sit in the eighth place in the table.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge in the second half of this season,” admitted Rodgers
“It’s still going to be tough. We respect that. But we’ve got great spirit at the moment.
“The football and idea is returning to our game. We’ll make every push in every competition that we are in to bring success here.
“I’m looking forward to it. Players are developing, players are improving and we can see how seven points [away from fourth] may seem a lot, but it certainly can be whittled away. You just have to consistently win games and perform well and that’s our idea.”
Rodgers admitted that he is fully expecting a resolute Sunderland team, a team that respectfully held Liverpool to a stalemate at home early in December.
“They’re very difficult to break down,” said the manager.
“They get a lot of numbers behind the ball. They close the space up and you have to work really hard and well to try to find the gaps to get in. It will be slightly different at home. They will be the home team and they will want to go on the offensive a little bit more.
“But they have good players and they have shown over the course of the season so far with a lot of draws that they are hard to break down, but that’s our job to go there and look to put in a performance that gets the three points.”