English Premiership

'It's all down to the players' - Rodgers

2015-01-20 14:51
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident his side can put their recent run of results against Chelsea behind them when they face the Premier League leaders' in the first leg of an English League Cup semi-final at Anfield on Tuesday.

Rodgers has lost all three of his matches against Chelsea mentor Jose Mourinho since moving to Merseyside but believes talk of a tactical battle is exaggerated.

"I think a big part is down to the players. Once they cross the line it is about them and the confidence and the qualities they have," Rodgers told an Anfield news conference on Monday.

"He is a top-class manager, Jose Mourinho has proven that over the last decade or so.

"He has great experience but once the players cross the line for me I have a big trust in the group and they are working well at the moment," explained Rodgers, whose side are 17 points behind league leaders Chelsea.

"For us it is certainly not a threat, it is an opportunity to reach a final."

Rodgers added: "Chelsea are in a really strong position. They have a very experienced squad of players who are playing well. They are five points clear (of second-placed Manchester City) but there is still a long way to go.

"I was at Chelsea when Nemanja Matic came in and he certainly wasn't the player then that he is now. He showed his quality at Benfica and has come back stronger. He is very good.

"At the top end of the field they have real talent. I love Diego Costa's game. He presses and works and has better feet than people think.

"Then you've got (Eden) Hazard and Oscar. So it is a threat. But for us it is about nullifying that threat and bring the qualities of our players into the game."

Liverpool came agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title last term but Rodgers, now in his third season charge of the Merseysiders, knows the patience of Reds fans has a limit and that a first trophy since the club last won the League Cup in 2012 would do wonders for the morale of all concerned at Anfield.

Rodgers yet to lift any silverware as Liverpool manager, said: "Our objective is still to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League. A trophy would help build for the future.

"Chelsea have showed that once you win a trophy you can go on and sustain it. But the first trophy is always the hardest.

"We know it will be very tough but to win a competition, you have to beat the best teams. We are developing and improving as the season goes on and we are full of confidence."

The former Chelsea youth team manager said he hoped Liverpool could follow the Blues' example.

"I joined Chelsea in 2004 and at that point in their history they were a club who wanted to win titles and trophies," Rodgers said.

"They have maybe done it in a different way but over the last 10 years they have shown once you have won that first one you can hopefully go on and sustain it.

"The players back then, some of whom are still there now, will tell you the first one is the most important.

"We know it is going to be a challenge but we know if you want to win the competition you have to beat the best teams and at this moment in time Chelsea are the best in the country."


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