Brendan Rodgers eyes upbeat end to troubled season

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool`s dominant 2-0 win against Aston Villa can be the springboard for a successful finish to a troubled season.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 18, 2015, 09:58 AM IST
Brendan Rodgers eyes upbeat end to troubled season

London: Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool`s dominant 2-0 win against Aston Villa can be the springboard for a successful finish to a troubled season.

Goals from Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert at Villa Park on Saturday ensured the Reds` unbeaten run extended to eight matches and boss Rodgers hopes their spluttering form in the first half of the campaign will soon be a distant memory.

The prospect of snatching a place in the Premier League`s top four and success in a cup competition - especially the League Cup where they meet Chelsea in the semi-final first leg on Tuesday - remains a distinct possibility with Liverpool thriving in Rodgers` revamped 3-4-3 formation.

"It was fair to say that opening four months of the season we were nowhere near what we had been, so we needed to find a solution," he said.

"I had seen enough of the dynamic to see the side had enough going forward.

"We will always look to improve and the challenge is to improve.

"We`re building towards the future and progressing really well. This period now the team is performing at a good level playing some wonderful football.

"If we can get through to the end of January, getting to the top four is still an objective.

"We could have had one or two more goals but it was a tough game."

Rodgers was especially impressed with the performance of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who has returned to the team recently after being dropped.

"I thought Mignolet was outstanding, he was not overly worked but it was really pleasing how dominant he was," Rodgers added.

"(Villa striker) Christian Benteke was nearly unstoppable in the air but Simon was really calm and composed. 

"When called upon Simon made some outstanding saves, the team as a whole defended really well.

"The system is working very well for us. My time here we`ve played a lot of different systems but this one is exciting."In contrast, Villa remain in a bleak position after they continued their poor form in front of goal.

They have managed a paltry 11 goals in 22 league matches, but a planned boycott of the Holte End at Villa Park for the first eight minutes failed to materialise.

At least the performance of substitute Carles Gil, the recent signing from Valencia, gave under-fire boss Paul Lambert encouragement for the future.

"The second half we were excellent," he said. "On another day we get the goals.

"I said to the lads the goals would come. If it affected confidence we would not have played like that. You could not ask for anymore apart from the goal.

"Carles Gil`s debut was as good as a debut that I have ever seen. You can see he is top talent.

"I know from experience if you play in a foreign country you might not grasp the language. But I thought he was outstanding.

"He has played for a massive club in Spain and if he keeps performing Aston Villa have a top player on their hands."

The failure of the fans` planned protest to generate widespread support to Lambert, who says the club can still prosper if players and supporters stick together.

"As long as the lads stick together and don`t break ranks we will be ok," he said.

"I didn`t think a boycott would help the team and I thought the fans were excellent. OK to lose a game we were disappointed but the fans were excellent.

"We`ve had a dogfight for three, four, five years. It`s just the same. There is no respite. You meet it head on.

"There are so many games, twists and turns you have all that to go.

"You don`t want to be down here. I don`t like it, the chairman does not like, the players do not like it and the fans do not like it."