English Premiership

Rodgers promises Reds revival

2014-09-21 12:19
Brendan Rodgers (AFP)

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted results would improve after the Merseysiders suffered their third defeat in five Premier League matches this season with a 3-1 loss away to West Ham on Saturday.

A dreadful start that saw both Winston Reid and then Diafra Sakho score for the Hammers in the opening seven minutes at Upton Park ended up costing Liverpool dear.

Raheem Sterling pulled a goal back in the 26th minute and Liverpool were the better side for most of the second half.

But the visitors ended up conceding a game-clinching third goal when substitute Morgan Amalfitano scored two minutes from time.

Defence proved Liverpool's Achilles heel when they came so close to winning the Premier League title last season before being pipped by champions Manchester City.

And this latest loss left them a point behind West Ham in the table and six adrift of leaders Chelsea, who could go further ahead depending upon the result of their match with Manchester City on Sunday.

However, Rodgers said Liverpool had made a similarly slow start last season.

"I am very fortunate that I have an honest group of players that know that sort of level is not what we expect," he said. "We will, over the course of the season, get better and better.

"We were brilliant last season and the only thing I will say is that at this point last season we weren't playing to the level of the last three or four months.

"I remember people asking me whether we would score enough goals and we finished the season with 101," the Northern Irishman added.

Luis Suarez, now at Barcelona, and Daniel Sturridge, currently injured, scored the majority of last season's goals of course but Rodgers believes that the 3-0 win at Tottenham in August was more typical of his players than the West Ham loss.

"We showed our potential in the Tottenham game, when we had key players fit we showed in that game the real quality and the intensity of the team," he said.

"But we still should be better than we were today. We have set a new expectancy at the club, which we will have to deal with now.

"Liverpool have always been a club everybody wants to beat but particularly now we are in the Champions League."

Five-times European champions Liverpool had returned to that competition in midweek, earning a narrow victory over Bulgarian side Ludogorets.

Many teams have suffered defeats in league action the weekend after playing in Europe and Rodgers acknowledged the issue by saying: "That is something we will have to deal with, and we will do."

This win was West Ham's first in front of their own supporters this season and a particularly important result for manager Sam Allardyce, who almost lost his job ahead of the current campaign because the east London club's fans did not find last term's football entertaining enough.

No-one in Claret and Blue was complaining after this match, of course and all of Allardyce's most recent acquisitions, including Sakho, Amalfitano, Enner Valencia and Alex Song, were impressive.

"We really took them to task and played outstandingly well," Allardyce said. "The only disappointment was that it was only 2-1 at half-time and not more. We deserved everything we got.

"Sakho and Enner Valencia terrorised Liverpool's back four. That performance just shows what capabilities and level we might be able to achieve this season. Our players have hit the ground running."

Allardyce reserved special praise for Sakho, who was playing for Metz last season. "Now he's got two in two," he said following the forward's goal in the 2-2 draw at Hull on Monday.

"He has been a little bit under the radar because we bought Enner Valencia from Ecuador, who had a fantastic World Cup, and he came from having won the French second division but having scored 20 goals. He's already looking fantastic."


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