Premier League: Rodger tells Liverpool to enjoy title pressure

Calls on for calmness after nervous 2-1 win over Sunderland.

Afp March 27, 2014
Gerrard's superb 39th-minute free-kick broke the deadlock and Sturridge doubled the hosts' lead early in the second-half, only for Ki’s late header to leave Liverpool hanging on. PHOTO: AFP

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers urged his players to stay calm and embrace the pressure of the Premier League title race after their nervous 2-1 victory over Sunderland.

The Reds took a two-goal lead at Anfield in Wednesday's match thanks to Steven Gerrard's free-kick shortly before half-time and Daniel Sturridge's deflected curling effort moments after the interval.

Liverpool were not at their fluent best, though, and had to endure a tense final 14 minutes after Adam Johnson's corner was headed home by Ki Sung-yueng from close range.

But Rodgers said that his players will be able to handle the tension of the run-in after they climbed up to second place in the table. Liverpool are now a point behind leaders Chelsea, having also played 31 games, although Manchester City in third place are two points further back and have two games in hand on those above them.

"We have had a wonderful season,” said Rodgers. “There is still some way more to go, but the message is to keep believing.

"We have to keep calm, but it always gets hairy when it gets to 2-1 and it means so much to you." Rodgers also claimed that there is not the same expectancy at Liverpool as there is with the two other teams in the title race.

‘There’s been no expectancy this year’

Liverpool have a much smaller squad and have not spent as much on players as their rivals, although the Northern Irishman acknowledged that their recent free-scoring form perhaps added to the tension against Sunderland.

"For us, there is not the expectancy, certainly this year," he said.

"People looked at us and thought we would tail off. I think we need to reinforce the calmness.

"However, there is the whole perception that we are going to get three, four, five goals every game, but we knew we were going to have to be patient.

"Seven wins in a row in the Premier League is a huge credit to the players."

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2014.

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