Brendan Rodgers on Sunderland: Lack of intensity cost us victory

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 Rodgers on Sunderland: A lack of intensity cost Liverpool a third successive victory…

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has explained that a lack of first-half intensity cost his team a third successive Premier League victory against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Reds were held to a goalless draw, while captain Steven Gerrard was left on the bench until the final 25 minutes, as Rodgers kept one eye fixed on Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash with Basel.

“The first half was a little slow in intensity – there wasn’t too much happening in the game,” said Rodgers, who was quoted on Liverpool’s official website. “The second half was much better.

“Our intention was obviously to go and win the game. In the second half, we pressed the game much better and had enough pressure in the right areas but the ball wouldn’t drop to us and we maybe needed a little bit of luck.

“It was a big effort by the players. They have given everything that they have in the last few weeks. They are giving their all. It was important that we kept a clean sheet.

“We’re having to go back to the basics of our game, making sure that we’re solid and hard to beat. It is two clean sheets in three games and seven points out of nine this week.”

Continuing his assessment of the game, he added: “Teams maybe come here a little bit deeper this year, and you’ve got to give Sunderland credit today as well – they defended well.

“We’re a different team to last year, with different players at the top end of the field. Guys like Rickie Lambert are giving their all and working very, very hard.

“The supporters are used to seeing goals and that creativity, but it’s a different team with different players. We have to continue to work hard – and that’s what the players are doing.”

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