Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool manager happy to let supporters 'believe the dream' of winning the Premier League title

Reds maintained title challenge with thrilling victory at Cardiff

Brendan Rodgers is happy for Liverpool fans to “believe and dream” as the Premier League title race heads for a thrilling conclusion.

Victory over Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday night would leave Liverpool one point behind leaders Chelsea with seven games left.

And while manager Rodgers continues to straight-bat all talk of a possible first title since 1990, the reality is that his free-scoring team have become major silverware contenders.

Luis Suarez's sixth Liverpool hat-trick in a 6-3 win at Cardiff saw him equal Robbie Fowler's club record tally of 28 Premier League goals in a season, while a Martin Skrtel double and Daniel Sturridge's late finish floored the relegation-threatened Welsh side.

"We are focusing on the immediate future," Rodgers said.

"The fans can believe and dream, and when you come to see your team play away from home and they score six goals, you've got every right to do that. They have been a big part of our success this year.

Follow Sunday's Premier League live blog here

"I've got to say that I am really looking forward to the Sunderland game. It feels like we haven't played at home for ages.

 

"Wednesday will be a great night for us. We've now got five games left at Anfield, with three away from home. Anfield is a special place to play football, so for us, it's about the immediate future."

Liverpool did not have things all their own way at Cardiff City Stadium as the they twice trailed to goals by Jordan Mutch and Fraizer Campbell, but there was no stopping them once Suarez, Sturridge and company started wreaking havoc.

"We don't work to just outscore teams; we work on our balance," Rodgers added. "We are certainly not a team that is not worried about defending, that's not the case at all.

"We were off the back of two clean sheets - which I take as much pride in - against two difficult teams, Southampton and Manchester United.

"We conceded too much space, but the key thing is how we respond and how we have grown over the last 18 months. There has been that resilience and confidence to know that we can get back in the game.

"We will analyse the other elements of the game that we can be better at. That will always be the case - you'll always look to improve.

"Look at our imagination and creativity. You sensed the crowd felt that every time we were in their half, we could score. That is a wonderful recognition of the type of team that we are."

Rodgers also paid tribute to Skrtel, who scored the second and third goals either side of half-time before Suarez inevitably hogged the headlines.

"Every team needs goals from everywhere on the pitch," he said. "That was one of the things I said at the beginning of the season. The defenders have to chip in.

"That's the sixth goal he (Skrtel) has scored this season. He is great at attacking the ball - he finishes like a striker. He has been a real stalwart for us this season."

Cardiff remain firmly in the relegation zone following their latest loss, and attention now switches to a key encounter at fellow strugglers West Brom next weekend.

"We will keep fighting," City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

"We were fantastic in the first-half. When you play against an attacking side such as them you have to test their back-line, and I think that is what we did.

"We had spaces in a few places and got some fantastic goals. Liverpool didn't come up with much in the first-half, chances-wise.

"We faced the top scorers in Europe, with the teams around us looking like having more manageable games (on Saturday), and we are not worse off than we were at the start of the day. I think that is the biggest plus that has come out of it."

PA

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea