Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants his faltering players to use their disappointing start to the season as a catalyst for a revival in fortunes. A run of three successive Premier League defeats has left the Merseysiders 12th in the table and facing a battle to claw back ground in the race for a top-four finish. […]
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants his faltering players to use their disappointing start to the season as a catalyst for a revival in fortunes.
A run of three successive Premier League defeats has left the Merseysiders 12th in the table and facing a battle to claw back ground in the race for a top-four finish.
Another disappointing result against Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday, when Liverpool conceded late to draw 2-2, has left them needing to win their final group match against Basel to make the knockout stages.
Although that game showed up many of the weaknesses that have dogged their season such as porous defence and a relatively toothless frontline, Rodgers hopes his side can turn adversity to their advantage, starting at home to Stoke City on Saturday.
“We are hoping that our season began the other night and obviously it will only count if we can take it into tomorrow’s game,” he told reporters.
“It is a different challenge because everything has been hunky dory for about 18 months. It is a different deck of cards we have this year, we just need to focus on the now.
“I said to the players, ‘what’s happened before has gone, we haven’t been on a good run, but let that be the making of us.”
Rodgers has limited attacking options with striker Daniel Sturridge facing an extended spell on the sidelines and Mario Balotelli still not fit to return after missing the last two games.
At the other end of the pitch, Rodgers faces a dilemma about whether to retain Kolo Toure at centre back or recall Dejan Lovren, who was rested in midweek having endured a difficult start at Liverpool since joining for 20 million pounds ($31.3 million) from Southampton.
Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has also come under pressure after a number of unconvincing displays and was criticised by club great Bruce Grobbelaar recently for lacking presence.
There was no hint that the Belgian is facing the axe, however.
“He’s fine, I had a good chat with him,” Rodgers said.
“He’s saved us in a number of games during my time here. He’s coping well.”
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