Liverpool have the 'courage to play' attacking football despite reaching top of Premier League table, says Brendan Rodgers
Reds moved to the top of the Premier League and know that if they win their remaining six games, they will be league champions for the first time since 1990
Monday 31 March 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is adamant his players have the composure to cope with the pressure of the title race while still playing the football which has put them top of the table.
The Reds took Tottenham apart at Anfield on Sunday, winning 4-0 through a Younes Kaboul own goal and further strikes from Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson in another blistering performance.
It lifted them into top spot in the Barclays Premier League for the first time since Christmas and if they win their remaining six matches - rivals Chelsea and Manchester City both have to visit Anfield in April - they will be champions for the first time in 24 years.
"I have said all along, I feel that when there are pressure situations the players can cope," said Rodgers.
"That is what you want, the courage to play. We made it the game it was because of our intensity, our focus, the quality of our football.
"We work to deal with pressure, to get on the ball. The players know 100 per cent if they make a mistake I will take the blame.
"I didn't see any nerves. I thought the composure, calmness on the ball, the positioning of the team was outstanding.
"We have a wonderful mix: world-class players, young talents from Europe and South America and a load of young British talent here who show that technically they can play and tactically their ideas are very good and they can operate at this level without any fear.
"You see the confidence, there is no anxiety, no pressure. It was great to watch."
Spurs boss Tim Sherwood bore the brunt of the away fans' criticism after chants of 'Where is our manager?' were directed at him as he sat unmoved in the directors' box all game.
Having publicly criticised his players following a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea earlier this month, he chose to keep his squad in the dressing room for 45 minutes after the final whistle at Anfield.
"They are entitled to have an opinion," Sherwood said of the away support's chants.
"I am not shirking any responsibility. At 2-0, and the game going away at 3-0, I am going to learn more from my players from sitting up there rather than getting in trouble on the touchline.
"You have seen enough of me ranting and raving but I have to analyse it. Our performances against the top four have not been good enough."
While Rodgers knows his side are brimming with confidence, Sherwood admits his sixth-placed team, who are in danger of being overtaken by Manchester United after taking three points from their last four matches, are faltering.
"It looked a bit nervy," he said.
"I want to instil belief into the players and let them know they are not inferior to the sides they are stepping on the pitch against, but the stats don't lie and the return of points is not good enough."
The manner of Spurs' defeat gave way to a barrage of speculation over Sherwood's future on social media, so much so that the name of the former England midfielder was trending prominently on Twitter for several hours after the game.
Some comments even went so far as to claim a dressing-room bust-up had taken place at Anfield, but those were shot down by Spurs winger Aaron Lennon on his official Twitter account.
"Today was not good enough and we let everyone down,but the rumours about the boss hitting someone are b*******, crazy how powerful twitter is," he wrote.
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