Liverpool 4 Swansea City 3: 'We will never play the Chelsea way,' claims Reds' manager Brendan Rodgers
'I’m not satisfied just grinding out results,' Liverpool manager says after 4-3 thriller
The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers tonight declared that grinding out a Premier League title like Chelsea is a strategy the club will never employ under his leadership, after their attacking outlook led them to another high-scoring win which exposed severe defensive frailties.
Rodgers admitted after the 4-3 win over Swansea City that the defenders he has inherited were "uncoachable" in some of their weaknesses but insisted that he would never sacrifice the free-scoring culture which has now seen his players overtake Manchester City's 69-goal tally and move within four points of Jose Mourinho's side.
"I think it's not our style," said Rodgers, whose side have kept only four Premier League clean sheets since the 1-0 victory over Manchester United on 1 September, when it was put to him that he did not have the defensive personnel to grind out results like Chelsea. "I worry always to play good football. I'm not one who is totally satisfied to always just grind out results. It is about winning and that's what professional sport is about at this level. But for us I will always concentrate on performance because I think that the consequence of performing well consistently is getting results and this season we've shown that. We've shown that when we play well we get the win."
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Rodgers admitted that had he replaced Daniel Agger with Kolo Touré, just past the hour, simply because the Dane had been unable to match the physical threat of Wilfried Bony, who had not scored a Premier League goal on English soil until his penalty took the score to 3-3. Asked if the error-prone Touré had made a difference, Rodgers replied: "We won 4-3… so…"
Skrtel was lucky to receive only a yellow card when the referee Mike Jones awarded the questionable penalty and Rodgers said of his players' failure to defend "anywhere near well enough" that "you can't coach" them out of such misdemeanours.
"The problem is that it's not coaching," he said. "Some of the things we conceded goals in you can't coach that. There's a feel when you're in the game of how to defend and you have to use that experience to be able to defend properly."
Nevertheless bookmakers had Rodgers' side at 1-8 for a Champions League return, as they eased six points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham and 11 ahead of Manchester United in sixth - and Rodgers acclaimed his team's attacking display. It included the excellent midfield contributions of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling, and goals which took Daniel Sturridge to 18 Premier League goals in as many starts. He has now scored in eight successive Premier League games for the club.
Rodgers admitted that the nervousness in his defenders permeated to other departments. High-scoring wins - 3-2 at Fulham and 5-3 at Stoke City to cite two others from the past six weeks - are "not planned," he insisted. "We concede poor goals, which is not so [much] structural as mistakes or decision making, which costs us. We will continue to work on that side of it. The balance in our training is very much equal in relation to our pressing, defensive mentality and also our offensive side."
Rodgers said his former Swansea captain Garry Monk had transformed the side from the one passed on to by him by the recently dismissed Michael Laudrup. Swansea's performance - including a superb display by Leon Britton, who did not always feature for Laudrup - is one they would have been incapable of three weeks ago, Rodgers said.
Monk said his side "were a bit too slow" and did not pass the ball quickly enough in the first half. "We gave them a bit too much space but once we sorted that out, we were back to ourselves in the second half and believing in what we were doing," he said.
Monk rejected the idea that Anzhi Makhachkala would move for striker Michu before the Russian transfer window closes. Swansea were "not a selling club" and wanted only to get the Spaniard, signed by Laudrup, back to fitness.
Swansea remain only four points clear of the relegation zone, though they did not look destined for the drop here. "We have got good players. They know that," Monk said. "It is just attention to detail. I told them to think how they have done in big games and to keep that energy level."
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