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Monday, 23 March 2015

Boss: My message to players after United

Boss: My message to players after United

Phil Reade
Brendan Rodgers has told his players to respond to Sunday's defeat against Manchester United in the same way they bounced back from losing out to their rivals at Old Trafford in December.
The Reds sought to move into the Barclays Premier League top four with a victory over the Red Devils, but it wasn't to be as Louis van Gaal's side departed L4 with three precious points.
Juan Mata scored twice, Steven Gerrard was dismissed within a minute of taking to the field as a half-time substitute and, despite a Daniel Sturridge goal and Simon Mignolet's late penalty save, there was to be no equaliser in the game.
The defeat leaves Liverpool five points adrift of United in the table, with eight games still to play before the end of the season, but Rodgers believes his side can still finish strongly and pile pressure upon their rivals.
Asked whether the Reds could emulate their achievements of recent months by responding to defeat at the hands of United, the boss replied: "That was the message to the players.
"That last performance at Old Trafford was a great springboard for us. We went on and, up until this point [against United], we hadn't lost a league game.
"So now we must use this similarly. We must use this in the same way; refocus, get over the disappointment and then come back into a tough game next against Arsenal and really look to get the points there.
"We had a 10-game objective that we set. Built into that was that we were not going to win every single game. It's still very much [possible] for us to go where we want to go, which is the top four. We just need to fight that bit harder and make up a five-point difference."
Rodgers felt his players afforded United too much space throughout the first half of the clash, falling deeper into their own half and failing to press the opposition to the high standard seen at Anfield in recent months.
"I think it was clear that in the first half we gave them too much room," he added. "They were able to control the game much better than us and they deserved the lead at half-time.
"Second half, we looked to change it. Obviously, we went down to 10 men early, but then I thought the players really demonstrated their quality and their fight and their spirit to keep going right to the very end.
"They went 2-0 behind against a good side. They got the goal back to 2-1 and they were in the game right until the very end. I've got great pride in the players. I'm disappointed with the result and performance, but they've kept going."

Phil Reade

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