Liverpool 4 Tottenham 0: Pressure is on rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, says Brendan Rodgers, despite Liverpool topping the Premier League table
Reds go top for the first time since Christmas after thrashing Spurs
Brendan Rodgers said on Sunday night that there was greater expectation on Liverpool’s title rivals after his side thrashed Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 to take the leadership of the Premier League and the upper hand in an absorbing title race.
Should Liverpool win their remaining six games, including the one against Manchester City at Anfield on 13 April, then they will win the club’s first league title since 1990. Walking into his press conference on Sunday, Rodgers said unprompted, “No, we can’t!” before he was asked about his club’s title prospects, although even he is finding it difficult to play down Liverpool’s chances of a 19th league title.
Asked whether the pressure was likely to be greater on others, including City, Rodgers said: “I believe so. I don’t think anyone expected us to be where we are. We finished the last two seasons eighth and seventh. I don’t think anyone expected us [to be challenging]. We go to every game to win but what has been great to see has been the idea and methodology of our work bearing fruit in the game. There are some great teams up there and world class managers so we understand it’s going to be difficult, but we just do what we can do and see where it takes us.”
Liverpool still have Chelsea to play at Anfield on 27 April, as well as City, and now have eight straight wins in the Premier League. Rodgers said: “There is no doubt they understand this is going to be a real tough place to come. We love playing here. The support today was incredible and that is only going to intensify as the season goes on. It works for us rather than against us.
“We respect Chelsea, they have a world class manager, top players and the squad has been put together over the last 10 years to win the Champions League and the Premier League. City are one of the new superpowers in European football. But we feel that we can win any game, because we are a team. We may not have the best group of individuals but we have a lot of hunger in the team.”
Asked whether he felt his team was about to make history, Rodgers said that there was no pressure on him.
“I don’t feel anything! I just feel a huge privilege to be here and be given the freedom to work. We are trying to make something that is sustainable here. I think it is fantastic the supporters now have hope ... I quite enjoy it really. It is why I worked hard in my life and since I was a young boy travelling around Europe to find out about some of the top teams. This is why I became a manager.”
It was another difficult afternoon for Tim Sherwood who spent the game in the directors’ box and was subject to chants from his own fans of “We’re s*** and we’re sick of it” and then, “Where’s our manager?” His team conceded early through a Younes Kaboul own goal and then lost Jan Vertonghen to injury before a mistake by substitute Michael Dawson let in Luis Suarez for the second. Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson scored in the second half.
Sherwood said: “They are entitled to having their opinion. Listen, I have sat up there for the last few games and I get a better view of the game and it is a learning curve for me. When the team is not doing well they want to see you. They know me well enough to know that I am not shirking any responsibility here.
“I am in it with the team and it is my responsibility as well as [that of] the guys on the pitch. At 2-0 and the game going away from us, and then 3-0, I think I learn more about my players by sitting up there and getting a good look, rather than getting involved and maybe getting myself in trouble on the touchline.
‘We see enough of me ranting and raving and it is time for me to start assessing and taking a step back and looking at what we need to do for the future, because our performances against teams in the top four, anyone above us, have not been good enough.’
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