Liverpool return to top of Premier League table: 'Fearless' Reds have the title edge on Manchester City, says Brendan Rodgers

The Liverpool manager claims his side have the right mentality going into their final five games of the season

Upton Park

Brendan Rodgers declared that all of the pressure was on Manchester City, rather than his “fearless” Liverpool team, ahead of Sunday’s potential Premier League title decider at Anfield.

Liverpool moved back to the top of the table last night with a 2-1 win at West Ham United. If they beat City on Sunday, they will be just four victories away from winning their first title since 1990.

Although City have more experience, and won the league in 2012, Rodgers predicted that his young side would not be cowed and would play their natural game. “The team we have put together, the mentality is to be fearless,” Rodgers said.

“It doesn’t matter who we play. We have to respect [City] as they have world-class players but it’s about ourselves and the confidence we have to play and for the youngsters to enjoy it. There is no pressure on them.

 

“Just go on and play. The most important thing is to focus on the ball and team and not yourselves and when you do that it will take you a long way.”

Rodgers believes that Liverpool have the edge on City after their recent displays against them, and thinks that all the pressure is on Manuel Pellegrini’s side. “I thought it was interesting to hear Vincent Kompany say that we are the best team they have played,” he said. “We should have won at the Etihad this season. We should have won there last season as well but drew 2-2. We should have beaten them at home [last season], we were 2-1 up then made a mistake and it was 2-2.”

Given the investment at City over the past six years, Rodgers believes more is expected of them in the title race. “The pressure is on them because they’ve spent money, and what they’ve done in the last couple of years has been fantastic. They’re a fantastic football club and they’ve invested to win the league and the Champions League. They’ll be looking to come to Anfield and get a result, but we’re just going to enjoy it.”

Rodgers believes that Liverpool have the edge on City after their recent displays against them Rodgers believes that Liverpool have the edge on City after their recent displays against them  

Rodgers was very happy with a Liverpool performance that had less thrilling attacking football than usual, but showed a resistance to West Ham’s physical approach. “We had to control the physical battle and then dominate the ball. We’re developing very well.”

Rodgers’ opposite number, Sam Allardyce, bemoaned the performance of the match officials, specifically for Liverpool’s second penalty, awarded for an apparent foul by Adrian on John Flanagan. “Unfortunately we are talking about the officials and not the game,” Allardyce said. “[Anthony Taylor] made big mistakes in the game. He thinks Adrian hasn’t played the ball and he has. He has to be 100 per cent certain. He was in a bad position but gave it.”

Allardyce wants a change in the way that referees are recruited. “We don’t have enough quality referees,” he said. “They try their best but something has to be done about it. I’m talking about recruitment of referees and development of referees. Get them off the parks, and into academies, and young referees who have played the game and been released by clubs, as well as young referees who fancy a career at a professional level. And our next level should be professional assistants.”

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre told BBC radio yesterday Liverpool had no intention of selling Luis Suarez. “We love having him as part of the club and I know he loves being here so we would expect that to carry on,” he said. “We don’t want to sell [him].”

Taylor-made errors: Referee’s record

Dec 2012: W Ham v Everton

Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson both had red cards overturned.

Aug 2013: Arsenal v A Villa

Dropped for one week after awarding a penalty against Laurent Koscielny when the defender appeared to win the ball from Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Oct 2013: Chelsea v Cardiff

Allowed Chelsea goal to stand, despite Samuel Eto’o knocking the ball away as Cardiff keeper David Marshall bounced it.

Jan 2014: Stoke v Liverpool

Gave Liverpool a penalty after Raheem Sterling went down following minimal contact from Marc Wilson.

Suggested Topics
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition