Brendan Rodgers predicts Liverpool 'reaction' against Arsenal

Liverpool boss predicts side will bounce back following FA Cup humiliation

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has no doubt his team will react in the right way to their FA Cup nightmare when they meet Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League tomorrow night.

The Reds are back in action three days after their surprise 3-2 defeat to npower League One strugglers Oldham in the fourth round.

The result was even more disappointing considering Liverpool have been in decent form following their shaky start to the season, winning eight of their previous 11 games.

But Rodgers is confident there will be no cup hangover, saying: "It's quite easy (to move on). It's one of the things you have to be able to do in modern football, and especially at a club like this.

"However, disappointing the cup was, we'll get a reaction on Wednesday. Just seeing the players, the small group we had working (on Monday morning), they had a real focus and concentration.

"That hurts, and I'm glad it does, because that shows that they care. We'll enter the game with even greater motivation to win.

"We've seen over the last few weeks the quality in the group so we mustn't forget that as well, however disappointing Sunday was.

"We must really focus in on the game on Wednesday, it's an opportunity against a good opponent but an opponent that's around about us in terms of points so we have to go there with the confidence and focus that we've shown in the league of late.

"And if we do that we'll have a great chance of getting a good result."

Liverpool would join Arsenal on 37 points with victory at the Emirates, a ground where they picked up three points last season.

The Reds will take extra motivation from the result of the reverse at Anfield earlier this season, when Arsenal outplayed their hosts and came away with a 2-0 victory.

Playmaker Santi Cazorla was particularly impressive that day, and Rodgers said: "They've got some wonderfully talented players, and Cazorla's come in and done terrifically well in his first season.

"The game at Anfield was probably as poor as we've been. There were a number of reasons behind that. Psychologically we weren't in a good moment, and rightly so we lost the game.

"But this is a chance to put it right. We'll need to make sure everyone's fighting, everyone's together, and I'm sure we will be. We need to do better against the teams that are in the top half, there's no denying that."

Liverpool will welcome back fit-again trio Jose Reina, Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson for tomorrow's game.

Full-back Enrique has not played since suffering a hamstring tear against QPR a month ago while goalkeeper Reina has missed two games with nose and thigh injuries and full-back Johnson sat out the FA Cup defeat by Oldham because of a hamstring problem.

Rodgers is likely to revert to a more familiar line-up after heavily criticising his young players for their performance at Boundary Park, and the Liverpool boss hinted it may be quite a while before some of those players get another chance.

"You might not always be at your best, but you have to give your best, and maybe one or two of our players looked like they didn't want to be there, which is the worry," said Rodgers.

"But we'll put that right going forward. The only way you get to find out those things sometimes is by actually throwing players in so no one this season will be able to say they didn't have a chance.

"The Oldham game actually makes decisions going forward much easier for me. We've got some good young players, but they're not that good. I don't have a young player here like Steven Gerrard when he was 18 or 19, or Jamie Carragher."

PA

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