English Premiership

Rodgers relaxed in title push

2014-03-29 10:03
Brendan Rodgers (AFP)

Liverpool - Brendan Rodgers insists there is no pressure on his Liverpool team as they look to continue their push for the Premier League title against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool have been dark horses in the title race but have given themselves a real chance of securing their first top-flight championship for 24 years thanks to a run of seven straight league wins.

That has left them in second place, just a point behind leaders Chelsea ahead of Saturday's fixtures, with home games to come against Chelsea and fellow challengers Manchester City before the end of the season.

But Rodgers suggests Tottenham, who are struggling to secure a top-four finish and a Champions League place, are perhaps the ones with more to lose.

"The players are very relaxed and focused," said the Liverpool manager. "There is no expectation on us being where we are and there is certainly no pressure from ourselves.

"I suppose the likes of Tottenham would maybe have been a team that was looking challenge to for the league this season. When you spend around £100 million on players, it's a group that was to set up to challenge.

"There's no pressure on us and we have shown over the course of the season that we are playing with no fear."

Rodgers maintains the aim at Liverpool is just to finish as high as possible in the table. But having beaten Tottenham 5-0 at White Hart Lane in December, he is clearly looking for another positive result.

"We are at Anfield and we expect to win at Anfield, no matter who we play," he added.

Rodgers's side sit 11 points clear of fifth-placed Everton but the manager has warned it is too early to be certain of Champions League qualification, a prize that comes with a top four finish in the Premier League.

- Championship jitters -

"We've got seven games and 21 points to play for, and we're going to go for every point we possibly can.

"The idea was to finish as high as we possibly could; the objectives haven't changed from the beginning of the season. We wanted to fight to get into the top four and we haven't achieved that yet."

Meanwhile Tim Sherwood wants his Tottenham team to take advantage if Liverpool are hit with another bout of the championship jitters.

Sherwood, who watched the Merseysiders stutter past Sunderland 2-1 in their previous game, knows what it's like to feel the pressure of the run-in.

The 45-year-old Spurs manager was a member of a Blackburn side that stumbled over the line to be crowned Premier League champions in 1995.

And with Tottenham needing a win at Anfield to keep their Champions League hopes alive, Sherwood said: "It just boils down to whether Liverpool can cope in the run-in because it is nothing like anything else.

"I know that myself from doing it. At one stage we were 12 points clear with a game in hand when we won the title.

"We managed to scrape through at the last. We were shot and we managed to get over the line. It will be very interesting to see how they cope with it."

Tottenham have their own aspirations as they chase a top-four finish and Sherwood added: "We are still in there fighting."

Sherwood has promised to shake-up his squad as he looks ahead to next season.

Despite rumours he is only keeping the hot-seat warm for an experienced head, Sherwood has identified a shortlist of potential summer transfer targets.

"The chairman's got a list of players I would like," he said. "You need to start looking, this is the time."

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23 August 2014
Aston Villa v Newcastle United, Villa Park 13:45
Swansea City v Burnley, Liberty Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v West Ham United, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v West Bromwich Albion, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Chelsea v Leicester City, Stamford Bridge 16:00
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