Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers talks Manchester City ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash at Anfield…
Liverpool take on Manchester City tomorrow lunchtime, looking to further close the gap between ourselves and the top four. The Reds moved to within two points of a Champions League spot last weekend, and a victory over the defending Premier League champions could be another huge boost to our European hopes.
The corresponding fixture last season produced an incredible 3-2 win for the hosts back in April, when we were going head-to-head with Manuel Pellegrini’s side over the top flight title.
Rodgers, who was quoted by official website, admitted that our clashes with City are always games to remember: “These games are always very good games. They are a top-class side with some very good players,” he said.
“In my time here we’ve had some great games with them. We’re hoping we can take the confidence that we’ve had in recent months into this game and, with the quality of the players that we have, get a good result.”
Philippe Coutinho scored the late winner at Anfield on that occasion, adding to goals from Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel. Reflecting on the game, Rodgers added: “It was an outstanding football game.
“We could have been three or four up at half-time, at 2-0 we were playing very well. Their quality got them back into the game.
“But then we showed the character that’s in this group of players to come back and get the victory. It was an outstanding football game and we played very well.
“But it’s a different game and a different challenge for us, especially on the back of the travel and our midweek game. But we’ll really relish it and we’re glad to be playing at home.”
Liverpool will be looking to respond well to Thursday’s disappointing Europa League exit at the hands of Besiktas, when Dejan Lovren’s missed penalty-kick saw us cruelly exit the competition after a hard-fought 120 minutes in Istanbul.
Asked how his team would recover, Rodgers responded: “This year Europe has been an experience for us, both in the Champions League and the Europa League. A lot of young players have gained invaluable experience in Europe this year and they’re going to be better for it.
“Going forward, we want to be in those competitions and the Champions League consistently for a number of years. They’ll have gained great experience from it this year.
“After next week’s game against Burnley, we’ll go to nearly one game a week, which probably for the first time this season will give us the chance to fully prepare and be ready in every aspect. It has been a really good learning season for us and we want to finish off the season with those objectives.”
In relation to his team’s preparation for Sunday’s game, Rodgers added: “The preparation for that, along with the coaches and our analysis team, has been done prior to the European game. We spent time yesterday analysing and looking at that.
“We’ll do some work with the players today; we’ve got our meetings this morning and later on this evening, then obviously a final one tomorrow. We do as much work as we can in order to prepare the players.”
Liverpool have been on a superb run of form, and are still unbeaten in the league since mid-December, something which Rodgers is rightly proud of.
“Immense credit to our players because they have shown they have been up for the fight,” he said. “We have become better as the season has gone on and in the period between now and the end of the season, we’re going to give everything to achieve our objectives. There are a number of teams involved in it and we’re one of those.”