English Premiership

Reds coy over title prospects

2013-11-10 11:00
Brendan Rodgers (AFP)

Liverpool - Brendan Rodgers has refused to label Liverpool as potential Premier League champions despite an emphatic 4-0 victory over Fulham that moved the Reds into second place in the table.

Seven victories in the opening 11 league games of the campaign have established Liverpool as a possible contender in the eyes of many and a return to Champions League football via a top-four finish seems a realistic target.

Rodgers, however, remains cautious and unwilling to analyse his team's chances of capturing their first title in 24 years despite the continued excellence of Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, who has now netted eight goals in six league games since his return from suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season.

"Luis took his goals well but him and Daniel Sturridge could have had one or two more," said Rodgers.

"Our appetite in the game was outstanding, there was a real hunger to get the ball.

"We had over 30 shots on goal so it was a dominant performance.

"We are just taking it game by game.

"But the evidence we have shown is we are capable of collecting points.

"When I first came here, there was a real vulnerability and nervousness in games like this.

"Now, the focus and mentality is good and we are becoming relentless in this type of game.

"That's what Liverpool is about.

"There is a real positive inset and belief in the squad."

Suarez scored twice and might have had a claim in a third which deflected in via defender Fernando Amorebieta for an opening own goal.

Martin Skrtel was also on the scoresheet as captain Steven Gerrard had a hand in all four goals, the first two from set-pieces.

"His delivery is as good as it gets," said Rodgers. "Nobody delivers the ball like Steven Gerrard, but I felt we weren't utilising that delivery.

"I asked the players to be more aggressive in attacking the ball because he puts it exactly where they want it and you saw with those goals the incredible quality of his delivery."

Fulham conceded three goals in 13 first half minutes with Liverpool racing into a 3-0 lead inside 36 minutes, a repeat of seven days earlier when Manchester United had scored three times against the Cottagers before the interval.

Pressure is mounting on Fulham manager Martin Jol in the wake of such results and four consecutive losses means an anxious two weeks before his side can attempt a return to winning ways after the international break.

"There is no defence for that performance," said Jol.

"If you go to Liverpool or Man United, you have to fight not to concede goals and to concede the first two to set-pieces, we made life difficult for ourselves.

"At half-time I just said the same as last week, we like to get results against the Crystal Palaces, the Stokes, the Sunderlands, but against Man United and Liverpool you hope for a result but couldn't get it.

"It's not the end of the world.

"Before Southampton away, we had three out of four against 'normal' sides and this is what we have to do, try and get the points against those teams.

"Every manager of any team in the bottom six or seven has to keep fighting.

"At the end of the day I think we will be fine but we have to suffer during these games."


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