West Ham vs Liverpool: Simon Mignolet 'must work on rapport with back four', admits Brendan Rodgers

The Reds continue to have problems at the back despite investment

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The Independent Football

Liverpool’s manager, Brendan Rodgers, wants goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to work on his relationship with the side’s back four, which will be tested by the aerial challenge of West Ham this weekend.

Rodgers does not feel the laid-back personality he sees in Mignolet means he lacks aggression on the field. But he wants the Belgian and the defenders working with him to be forceful and decisive.

“He’s our No 1 keeper,” Rodgers said yesterday, as he seeks to build on an indifferent start which leaves his side eighth in the Premier League. “He’s got plenty of experience. He just continues to work on that relationship with the back four and deal with that. The message to all the players in that situation is make sure you are the front foot. Be aggressive, don’t wait for it.”

Rodgers declined to say he was looking for more from the goalkeeper. “I wouldn’t tell you if I was!” he stated.

The manager has not yet spoken to Victor Valdes about the possibility of bringing the Spaniard in as back-up option. Valdes, a free agent after his release by Barcelona, is most likely to discuss an Anfield contract next month. His arrival depends on how he recovers from a cruciate ligament injury suffered in March.

Rodgers does not feel Adam Lallana, who made his debut in last Saturday’s home defeat to Aston Villa, is at full fitness after a knee injury. “The more game time he gets the better. He’s really only been back in with the team about three weeks. He’s played in a couple of games. He’s had a couple of chances in the games he’s played as well – it was a great strike against Villa and he’s had the one in the box where [if] it rolls differently to him he maybe ends up getting his first goal.

 

“When you play against that [defensive] block, you need to take the risk. What happens is if you play 30 passes, 31 passes, 32 passes, players don’t want to be the one that gives it away on the 33rd pass.” Lallana is a player who will, Rodgers said.

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