An eye-catching 3-0 away win over Southampton hasn’t stopped Brendan Rodgers from attempting to downplay aspirations…
Liverpool passed a big test of their credentials on Saturday evening when they defeated a highly-regarded Southampton at St Mary’s.
The 3-0 triumph ended a run of three straight defeats on the South Coast and lifted the visitors up to second in the Premier League standings.
A first half strike from Luis Suarez put the Reds on their way before goals from Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard, via the penalty spot, secured victory.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers praised the performance but refused to get too carried away with talk of delivering the club’s first league title since 1990.
“My ambition is for the club – I want the club to succeed,” commented the 41-year-old. “We’ve made many changes on and off the field in the time I’ve been here, but what we have created is a one-club mentality.
“Now when anyone talks about Liverpool, it’s about the football, and that’s very pleasing.
“We still have a lot of work to do in terms of where I want to take the team. It’s great to have a group of players that are very honest and want to go with you on the journey. You can see by their work-rate, intensity and quality that we’re improving all the time.
“We’ll stay calm. It’s good for the supporters to dream. It’s great for them because they’ve seen the evolution of this team over the last 18 months – and we’ve been constantly for over a year progressing and performing at a good level.
“We stay calm, we don’t get too carried away and we always just focus on the next game. After Swansea we knew this was going to be a really difficult game here today.
“They’ve scored in all but two games here, have some wonderful players and the manager is excellent. For us to come and play as we did today and find the solution to nullify that threat was impressive.”
The gap to leaders Chelsea remains at four points but with Manchester City in League Cup final action and Arsenal surprisingly losing to Stoke City, the Merseysiders have moved up two spots.
Liverpool remain unbeaten in the league during 2014 and also have the chance to take points off the two favourites when they both visit Anfield next month.
Against the Saints, who had won the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Rodgers showed further signs of a growing tactical nous by altering his preferred formation.
The Northern Irishman also handed a start to Joe Allen at the expense of an in-form Sterling, who would later score 80 seconds after being introduced as a substitute.
“That’s what we’ve been working towards since I’ve been here,” explained Rodgers.
“The systems are relevant – we can look at each game and analyse the strengths of what we have available against the opponent we’re playing.
“The style will always be the same – we want to control and dominate the game, be tactically strong and very good in transition. We saw all of those aspects today.
“We’ve played 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 and today we played a 4-4-2 diamond. You’ve got to heap huge praise onto the players, who kept the tactical discipline in order to block up the space and be a threat going forward.
“We’ve had an outstanding performance today – a really significant performance – against a very, very good side with an excellent manager. Our players were tactically brilliant today; kept a clean sheet collectively as a team and scored three goals.
“We’ll just stay calm. 10 games to go, we’re in a good position and we just want to continue working at the level we’ve been at.”
Unfortunately for the Kop outfit they now face a two week gap until their next fixture; a trip to arch rivals Manchester United.
At this stage of the season maintaining momentum is crucial and every dropped point could ultimately prove crucial come the final reckoning.
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