West Ham vs Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers willing to give new players time to settle as he seeks established stars to pick up the slack

Rodgers feels that his new players signed in the summer are still 'bedding in' and believes the senior Liverpool players can spread the responsibility to win matches

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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is looking to his established players to take up some of the slack while his summer signings bed in properly.

The Reds have had a mixed start to the Premier League season with two wins and two defeats in their opening four matches as they try to integrate a number of new arrivals.

Rodgers expects his side to consistently find their peak performance level in the second half of the campaign, as they did last season when a brilliant run of results saw them finish runners-up to Manchester City.

But while that 'bedding in' process continues, Rodgers will look to the players who have worked under him for a while to compensate in some way, highlighted by him giving Jordan Henderson more responsibility by making him vice-captain this week.

 

"I think they naturally do that, I think that is part of the process here," Rodgers said of the way his senior players spread the load.

"We are about the team and we will attack and defend, win and lose as a team, but with the new players coming in it does take a bit of time - but it is not an excuse.

"While you are letting the players settle you need to win matches." Twelve months ago Liverpool had 10 points from four matches, compared to six this season, but that does not concern Rodgers.

Defensively there have been lapses while half of their six goals came in a 3-0 win at Tottenham but the Northern Irishman is looking at a longer-term aim.

"There's no magic formula, it's just constant work on the training field," added Rodgers, ahead of the trip to West Ham.

"I remember this time last year, we were sat in press conferences and the questions I was getting asked were about whether we were going to be able to score goals. We ended up with 101 goals.

"It's just time and patience with players. The way we were playing in March, April and May last season we weren't playing that way last September. It'll be the same this year.

"I've always said by the time the second part of the season comes, we'll always be stronger and better.

"The Tottenham game we were outstanding but had a poor international break because we lost a number of our players and that upset our rhythm a bit coming into the Villa game (a 1-0 defeat last weekend), where we had to change our structure.

"Against Aston Villa, we weren't at our level in the final third. They defended well and got the result, but we moved on from that.

"We've got players adapting to a different country, not just a new team, so naturally that takes that little bit more time.

"I've been really pleased with how the players have settled in and experience tells me they'll get better."

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Ashley Westwood has been a regular in the Villa side this season

Because expectations are higher there has been criticism of Liverpool's perceived failure to immediately replicate the style of football which propelled them so far last season with former Liverpool defender-turned-pundit Jamie Carragher offering his opinions.

"There are a lot of experts in the game now," was Rodgers' response.

"I read the papers constantly and I keep getting told how to play and it is the same on the telly.

"We will always find different ways to win games, that is something I have always done all my career."

PA

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