'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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence