Brendan Rodgers hails brilliant Liverpool F.C. despite Premier League title despair

May 11 2014, 00:16 IST
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SummaryA season that nosedived from hope and belief into dejection and disappointment should be seen as a positive stepping stone, Liverpool F.C.

A season that nosedived from hope and belief into dejection and disappointment should be seen as a positive stepping stone, Liverpool F.C. manager Brendan Rodgers said on Sunday after settling for second best in the Premier League title race.

Having led the standings heading into the home straight, a campaign that promised to lift the weighty millstone of a 24-year top flight title drought came to a deflating end with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United that counted for nothing.

Manchester City were drenched in blue and white ticker tape after a 2-0 win over West Ham United ensured they finished top by two points, leaving Liverpool to rue costly results against Chelsea and Crystal Palace near the end of a dramatic season.

Having finished seventh last year and begun the current campaign with the target of a top-four finish and a spot in next season's Champions League, the resolutely positive Rodgers was not lamenting what might have been.

"It's been brilliant. We've been on an incredible journey this year," he told Sky Sports on the Anfield turf.

"To finish with 12 wins and a draw (from the last 14 league games) is an incredible achievement... It was unfortunate not to win the title but we've shown great hope for the future...

"We've helped the supporters dream here and we're a team on the up and we have momentum."

Although it can be difficult to carry momentum from one season into the next, the Liverpool manager was able to reflect on several positives as he puts together plans for next term.

STERLING PERFORMANCE

One is the form of effervescent England winger Raheem Sterling, who was stuck on the fringes for the opening months of the campaign before cementing his place in a free-scoring attack that rifled home 101 goals over the 38 league games.

This was the first time Liverpool had broken the 100-goal mark since 1896, with strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge the most prolific pairing in Europe's major leagues with 52 goals between them.

Rodgers will also have been buoyed by the driving performances of Jordan Henderson, once derided as a costly mistake but now seen as a pillar on which future Liverpool midfields can be built.

It was perhaps no coincidence that their season imploded when Henderson was suspended after a reckless challenge at the end of their 3-2 win over Manchester City that ruled him out of two crucial and calamitous games.

A 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea

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