Manager Brendan Rodgers is pleased with Liverpool’s start to the season and believes performances will improve in due course…
Liverpool owed a debt of gratitude to the officials after overcoming newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth at Anfield on Monday night.
A controversial first goal for the Reds from Christian Benteke, allowed to stand despite Philippe Coutinho making a play for the ball from an offside position, was all that separated the two sides.
Bournemouth carried a constant threat throughout the contest and probably deserved at least a share of the spoils, particularly after having a goal of their own harshly ruled out in the early minutes.
The three points mean Liverpool are one of only four sides in the top flight with two wins from two but Kop boss Brendan Rodgers concedes there is plenty of room for improvement.
“I’m pleased we’ve got two wins, six points and two clean sheets,” said Rodgers. “Defensive organisation has been good and that’s important for us.
“There are a lot of new players that have come into the club and it will take them a little bit of time to bed in. What we’re seeing is a character and spirit in the team and that’s going to be important for us.
“We know the qualities we have and we know as players find fitness at this stage of the season and get more game time, our game will become better.
“My concern at this period was showing that steel and determination to get results and to make a good start.
“I think last season it wasn’t until October when we got back-to-back wins, so to get that in the first two games is pleasing – but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Rodgers also praised a number of his players individually and unsurprisingly the match winner was one of the main recipients of the boss’ affection.
Of Benteke, who cost the Reds £32.5m when he arrived from Aston Villa earlier this summer, Rodgers remarked: “I thought he was a real handful tonight – you saw all the facets of his game.
“His hold-up play is outstanding, he’s got a wonderful touch for a big guy and you saw that this evening. He can help the ball on to areas, he can take the ball in, control and switch the game, his touch is good and you see him linking and combining.
“There was one moment when the ball came into the box – which is one of the reasons we looked to bring him in – and because of his strength and power, he tried to make contact with it. It dropped and we had a chance with Coutinho to then shoot.
“In my time here, that’s never really happened and the ball’s come in and maybe been cleared out, but because of his physicality and contact, he keeps the ball alive in a dangerous area of the field.
“That will really help and once the players get used to seeing and working with that, it’ll offer us more opportunities to score goals.
“It gives us a different dimension to our game, whilst looking to retain that philosophy to move the ball and get fluency. That will come and grow over the coming months.”
Of the gallant visitors, Rodgers predicted a bright future and backed Eddie Howe’s men to avoid relegation.
“I think they’re an excellent team,” praised the Northern Irishman. “I had the same situation when I arrived at Swansea – we were [expected] right from the very beginning not to stay up.
“I think it was the first five games and we hadn’t scored a goal, so everyone was wondering if we could score. Could we play that type of football to stay in the league? It ended up that we stayed in the league comfortably.
“I think Bournemouth will be the same – they’ve got some excellent players. They’re going to lose games and they’ll have big games – every game is a big game – but I’ve got every confidence that they’ll do very well with the style of football that’s going to give them an advantage.
“The players have been together for a long time and they’ve brought in some good players. These early games are obviously very tough, they’re learning about the league, but I’m sure they’ll do very well and stay up.”
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