• Premier League

Rodgers concerned by set-piece weakness

ESPN staff
October 21, 2013
Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool can continue their early-season momentum © Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers has warned his Liverpool players to improve their set-piece defending if they to maintain a push for Champions League football.

Rodgers' side conceded a goal from a free-kick in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle as defender Paul Dummett turned in Yohan Cabaye's delivery.

Four of the last six goals scored against Liverpool have come from set-pieces, and it is a weakness the manager is determined to sort out.

Liverpool conceded a soft set-piece goal in their last home game, a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace on October 5.

And Dummett's strike on Saturday left Rodgers' side needing to come back from 2-1 down against a Newcastle side reduced to 10 men following the first-half sending off of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for a professional foul on Luis Suarez.

Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo: "It's something that we need to address, for sure. We have to be more aggressive and more switched on. It's concentration.

"The goal at home to Crystal Palace was disappointing. That was a poor goal to give away, but thankfully it never cost us.

"Here, conceding from a set piece put us on the back foot. We were looking forward to the second half at 1-1, and suddenly we were behind.

"It's something for us to work on, but in football there is always something to improve on. At this moment, that is an area for us to look at."

Liverpool dropped from second to third in the Premier League following Saturday's draw, but Rodgers believes they can continue their early-season momentum.

The manager is keen to improve significantly on last season's seventh-place finish - hinting that he wants a strong challenge for Champions League qualification at the very least.

Rodgers added: "There will come a time when we start looking at when we can challenge, but we can't get carried away. The club finished eighth the year before I came in, and we finished seventh last year.

"The jump in terms of finances between there and the top end is massive. But we will continue to fight.

"We have stabilised the mentality, there's a strong culture at the club now, and I think the supporters can see the direction we're going in. Sixth would be an improvement, but also a disappointment, as there would still be five teams above us."

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