Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Liverpool on track for top four, says Rodgers

22 December 2014, 14:32

Liverpool - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt his players demonstrated the character necessary to revitalise their challenge for a top-four Premier League finish in their last-gasp 2-2 draw with Arsenal.

After Philippe Coutinho's opener was swiftly cancelled out by Mathieu Debuchy in first-half stoppage time at Anfield on Sunday, Olivier Giroud struck in the 64th minute to set Arsenal up for an opportunistic victory.

But having earlier required treatment for a head wound inflicted by Giroud that left him with a bandaged head and led to nine minutes of injury time, Martin Skrtel claimed an equaliser with an emphatic 97th-minute header in front of the Kop.

The point was the least Liverpool deserved after restricting Arsenal to a 36 percent share of possession -- their worst performance in that domain since passing statistics began to be compiled in 2003.

And although Liverpool trail leaders Chelsea by 17 points and lie nine points adrift of the Champions League places, Rodgers is convinced that last season's runners-up are on the right track.

Asked if Liverpool could sustain a challenge for a top-four finish, he told reporters: "Yes, absolutely.

"It was always going to be a big challenge. Of course we've got to make up points over the next part of the season, but we have shown this is a group that can go on a run of games (wins).

"In the second half of last season we went on a run of 11 games and if we can put a run of games together, that can very quickly move you up.

"The most important thing is the confidence and the ability in the team. You bring (injured striker Daniel) Sturridge back in January, then you get back to being that team we have been in the last few years.

"There's a bit of work to do, but at least we're moving in the right direction again, which is what we want."

 'Bad memories'

Rodgers was pleased with the "intensity" and "arrogance with the ball" Liverpool showed, but he was less complimentary about his side's defending.

Citing the build-up to Debuchy's goal, when the hosts were beaten in the air three times after Alexis Sanchez curled a free-kick into the box, he said: "A lot of the goals we give away are poor goals.

"I didn't think it should have been a free-kick. I think Sanchez has dived once he realised he wasn't getting the ball, and the referee fell for it.

"But when it comes in, we lose three one-v-one headers in the box. We have to be better at that. That's not about organisation. That's about winning the duel."

Rodgers said he had "no complaints" about the injury-time dismissal of substitute Fabio Borini, who collected yellow cards for dissent and a high boot against Santi Cazorla.

He also paid tribute to Slovakian centre-back Skrtel, who stayed on to score the winner despite having been left with an ugly gash on the back of his head after Giroud unintentionally caught him with his studs.

"He's a real warrior, Martin," said the Northern Irishman, whose side registered 27 attempts on goal. "He showed great character and determination to stay on."

Arsenal had been destroyed 5-1 on their previous visit to Anfield in February, when they conceded four times in the first 20 minutes, and beaten manager Arsene Wenger suggested the memory had played on his players' minds.

Asked to explain a sluggish first-half display, Wenger cited "tactical and psychological reasons" and explained: "Maybe (there were) bad memories from last year. Some players were not at their best. I think we played with the handbrake too much in the first half."

He added: "Overall it's a fair result, but it's also a frustrating result for us because they came back at a moment in the game when we had plenty of defenders on the pitch.

"Today (Sunday) was frustrating because they came back to 2-2. But overall it's not the most frustrating day of the season."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...