Arsenal v Liverpool: English footballers are as skilful as Brazilians, claims Brendan Rodgers

'It's a load of tosh' that Spaniards or South Americans are technically superior, says Liverpool manager

Brendan Rodgers says it is "tosh" to suggest England produce technically inferior footballers to those in Europe and South America.

With the World Cup looming, the Liverpool manager last night argued that English players are suffering from a wholly unwarranted inferiority complex – a myth which Liverpool's performances should have helped explode.

Had Steven Gerrard's brilliant pass that curled between two Fulham defenders to set up Daniel Sturridge's equaliser on Wednesday been made in the Nou Camp rather than at Craven Cottage, it would have been hailed as typical of Barcelona. It also demonstrated the kind of technique Roy Hodgson's side are not supposed to be taking to Brazil.

"My life's work has been trying to show that British players can play," said Rodgers. "I grew up being told English players weren't technically as good as Europeans, which was the biggest load of tosh I'd ever heard.Spanish players are born the same as British players. We have an inferiority complex, absolutely. I have worked with kids from five years of age through to some of the biggest players in the world. I have a decent idea of what technique looks like.

"John Terry is a tactically brilliant centre-half. Frank Lampard has wonderful qualities. Steven Gerrard is the best player I have worked with for tempo and technique.

"You look at an England team with Gerrard, Lampard and Paul Scholes in midfield, they would have dominated games."

The Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes combination was selected for only one major tournament, the 2004 European Championship in Portugal, which was the last competition England looked like they might win.

The Liverpool players who ripped Arsenal apart 5-1 at Anfield last Saturday and who will face them in the FA Cup this afternoon are mostly English – talents like Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Gerrard.

"Look at Jon Flanagan," said Rodgers of his young full-back. "At one point, we didn't have any clubs who even wanted him on loan. Everyone is talking about how good Jordan Henderson is tactically. We can do that in this country but they need to be encouraged and have the confidence and will to do it."

It was, however, a Brazilian, Philippe Coutinho, who contributed most to Arsenal's annihilation at Anfield. He is Liverpool's Juan Mata or Mesut Özil, although he cost the club less than a quarter of the fees that David Moyes or Arsène Wenger paid out.

"He is a snip," said Rodgers. "We have got the best passer in the Premier League, a technician who can thread the ball through and a runner who can penetrate and run without the ball.

"When I worked at Chelsea, I used to watch Deco. He was a bit older than Philippe but I still remember his first training session when he got a round of applause. It was just pure quality and that is what Coutinho has. He is a little street footballer with a wonderful vision."

The vision of being 4-0 up after 20 minutes against Arsenal still lingers at the club's training ground at Melwood. "That game was as good as it gets," added Rodgers.

"I can only remember being involved in one game like it, when I was a coach at Chelsea and we went 3-0 up against Barcelona in the opening period at Stamford Bridge.

"You couldn't believe it. The win over Arsenal was at that level but it was different for me because I was the manager. Seeing your work bear fruit against a team that is winning the League, was very satisfying."

It led Rodgers' former boss, Jose Mourinho, to comment that Liverpool were now genuine title contenders. "Go back to September 2012 and look at what Jose said when I came here," said Rodgers. "He said the club was not set up to win the League and it would be a miracle if I did it here. I take it as an incredible compliment that we are now being talked about in that way."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album