English Premiership

Rodgers defiant amid Liverpool 'hysteria'

2015-09-27 08:24
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)
Brendan Rodgers (Supplied)

Liverpool - Brendan Rodgers said that he would ignore the voices of those who do not want him to manage Liverpool after his team's 3-2 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield.

Speculation about Rodgers' position has been mounting, with Liverpool great Mark Lawrenson claiming that one defeat from the games against Villa, FC Sion and derby rivals Everton would lead to his dismissal.

Former club captains Jamie Carragher, Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp have also been critical of Rodgers, fuelling rumours that he could be replaced by a leading manager such as Carlo Ancelotti or Juergen Klopp.

But after Saturday's win against Villa, Rodgers said: "Of course there is a lot of hysteria and that continues. I'm pretty confident that there is a group of people who don't want me to be manager here.

"But from my perspective, I look at it and in all competitions we have lost less games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. We have lost two games, which is equal to Tottenham and Manchester United.

"Obviously the hysteria around ourselves is interesting to note for me and the players. We stand very calm, work very hard every day and we'll get the rewards.

"But I think it is clear. Sometimes we haven't lost a game, but we haven't performed well and I think, from the hysteria around it, it is pretty clear there is maybe something else going on from behind. I'm talking about people outside of here."

Liverpool had gone four league games without victory and needed penalties to overcome fourth-tier Carlisle United in the League Cup in mid-week.

But Rodgers' position was galvanised by the return of England forward Daniel Sturridge, who scored twice to register his first goals since a hip injury laid him low last March.

The 26-year-old's brilliantly taken brace came in a 12-minute second-half period that also saw Villa striker Rudy Gestede net twice and ultimately proved enough to secure victory.

"It's not rocket science," said Rodgers. "The last time we scored three goals was when he started the game against Tottenham here (in February).

"If you're going to compete at the top of the table, you need quality. We've got some very good players here and Daniel has shown over his time here that he is a really, really top talent.

"When you miss that type of goal threat from your team, you can suffer. I thought he was outstanding today (Saturday).

"He was disappointed he didn't get a hat-trick, but his two finishes were outstanding and he showed a great combination with Danny Ings considering it was the first time they had started together."

The flurry of goals followed James Milner handing Liverpool the lead after just 66 seconds.

"He's a top-class professional and he has obviously come here with much greater responsibility in the team," said Rodgers of the former Manchester City midfielder.

"That was one of the biggest reasons he wanted to come here and it was only a matter of time before he got a goal because he has done that regularly throughout his career."

Villa manager Tim Sherwood at least had the consolation of seeing Gestede score twice, taking his league tally to three goals since joining from Blackburn Rovers, but Villa's lowly league position is of clear concern.

"People questioned whether he would score in the Premier League. He's answered that already," said Sherwood. "But this was something I expected.

"It was a young group of players we acquired. The club decided it was the best way to go forward and that comes with ups and downs. Everyone can see that now."

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