• Premier League

Keep calm, Rodgers tells Liverpool

ESPN staff
March 27, 2014
Can Liverpool finish in front?

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told his players to remain calm and embrace the pressure after they moved within one point of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Having last won the title in 1990, Liverpool have emerged as surprise contenders this season and kept their hopes alive with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Gerrard: We can't afford to concede

Gerrard put Liverpool ahead with a curling free kick © PA Photos
  • Steven Gerrard has urged Liverpool to keep hold of the ball and tighten up defensively once they have the lead to avoid a repeat of the nervy final 15 minutes at Anfield.

    "You have to give credit to Sunderland," Gerrard told Sky Sports. "They have come to make it difficult for us, they were difficult to break down. We need to learn that when we go two goals ahead we can't concede. We need to hold on and pass it better."

Rodgers said his side - who have games against title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City next month - must keep their focus in the remaining seven games of the season.

"It is just reinforcing about calmness," he said after the victory. "We reinforce to the players to dominate the ball. Our idea is to stay calm under pressure and it is important that they can think clearly under pressure.

"We have had a wonderful season so far but there is still a way to go. I felt in the second part of this season we would be stronger because of the nature of our game. There were long spells that we were very good at that but, as I said, as the season goes on we will embrace that pressure and enjoy it."

Despite Liverpool's impressive position, they could find themselves four points behind City if Manuel Pellegrini's men win their two games in hand, and Rodgers - like Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho - acknowledges that it is their title to lose.

Rodgers added on BBC Sport: "It's up to other teams to lose, so we will keep working hard. I'm not playing it down, I don't play silly mind games. If City win their games, they win. It's simple maths.

"I'm concentrating on my team and Jose Mourinho is saying what I'm saying - Manchester City have games in hand and the squad to win the title and the Champions League, Chelsea likewise, but we are enjoying being up there. We are second. I'm not going to say we are not in it because I'd be lying."

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