'Pressure of top-four target too much for Liverpool' says club's psychiatrist Steve Peters

Club's psychiatrist Steve Peters says players will perform better if they set themselves realistic ambitions

The sports psychiatrist who has been employed by Liverpool to replicate the methods which have played a huge part in British Cycling's Olympic success has urged the club to make a Premier League title or top-four finish an aspiration rather than a concrete goal.

In his first public discussion of his role working with the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, Dr Steve Peters told The Independent that 10 players have sought him out and that he believes the 23-man first-team squad will only heap unnecessary pressure on themselves by targeting a specific league position – or deciding how much longer they must wait to clinch the title which has become an Anfield obsession in the 23 years since the club last won one.

"A goal is something you must be able to control and you can't control [your place] in the league," Peters said. "It depends on how others play, not just you. You always like to influence things and influence as much as you can but accept that most things in life are a dream. They're not guaranteed to happen."

Peters, the Sheffield University scientist who was hired last October to work a day per week with Liverpool and was subsequently also appointed to work for UK Athletics with performance director Neil Black, said that his role in football created tougher challenges than those he encountered at UK Cycling, including the need to get a majority of the players to work with him. "If I go to a team with 10 people and only five work with me then I am absolutely limited in what I can do with the team," Peters said. "The [Liverpool] players are trickling in one at a time, gaining benefit, buying in and feeling it can work for them. But it has to be on an individual basis."

The 59-year-old does not view his role as one of inculcating a team ethic at Anfield. "From my perspective in sport I am not sure that's the psych's job," he said. "It is indirectly but I think the manager is the key person."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
UK Border Control
i100
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn