Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool boss in big trouble after pathetic display against Crystal Palace

Reds boss admits he must start to win matches or face the chop

By James Tait

Brendan Rodgers is now hot favourite to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job.

Liverpool boss Rodgers, who came so close to landing the title a few short months ago, is in serious trouble after yesterday's 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park - their sixth league defeat of the season.

Instead of kicking on from last campaign's thrilling near miss, the Ulsterman has instead led Liverpool to their worst start since 1992-93.

Palace - whose comeback from 3-0 down at Selhurst Park put the final nail in Liverpool's coffin last season - rallied again yesterday after Rickie Lambert had scored his first Liverpool goal within the first two minutes.

Asked whether he was under pressure, Carnlough man Rodgers - who landed a lucrative new contract on the back of last season's success - admitted: "I'm not arrogant enough to think that I will be in a job through anything.

"Any manager will tell you that you have to win games and you have to get results, especially after how we've been developing as a football club. But I have a great communication line with the owners.

"We've been honest enough with each other, but ultimately you have to get results. You have to perform. In my first year when we weren't maybe getting the results, we were performing well."

Rodgers continued: "Owners and directors and chairmen and chief executives have to see development on the field. Barring this period, our development has been very good and fast. But there's no doubt as a manager you have to get results.

"I will only ever do my best.

"The best has seen us develop well. Now I need to fight even harder. And take the responsibility because as manager full responsibility comes down to me. Any pressure comes on to me"

Palace equalised in the first half through Dwight Gayle and went on to win the game with goals from Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak. The victory moved them up to 15th ahead of Hull City, who lost at home to Tottenham. It was Neil Warnock's side first win in six games.

Rodgers admitted that his team, who face Ludogorets in Bulgaria on Wednesday in the Champions League, were low on confidence.

"It was bitterly disappointing. Nowhere near the levels we'd expect, after a very good start. You've seen a team low on confidence today. Not quite together as a team. We need to find a solution very quickly because it was very disappointing."

"It's my responsibility as the manager. Ultimately, I put the team out there, the best team to win us the game. We made a good start. You could see our passing was a wee bit tentative, and then we make mistakes - mistakes you wouldn't expect to see in a team who are supposed to be challenging (for the title)."

The Liverpool manager disputed the award of a free-kick against Martin Skrtel for pulling the shirt of Gayle - a free-kick from which Jedinak scored his side's third goal.

Rodgers said: "Overall, that intensity and togetherness in our game isn't there. When you don't get the results, that affects you. That leads to (reduced) confidence. We have to work harder, but we go away bitterly disappointed with the result.

"We have to put it right very quickly because we have a massive game in midweek and a busy schedule ahead. We have to do better," added Rodgers.

"We've been a very close group for a couple of years, but we had to make the changes and bring players in. The group was very thin. We're in another transition phase, but whatever phase it is, we have to do better than that.

"We've brought in very good players. Some of them are very young and are not going to be ready for a few years, but they're in now. We have to do better in our performance level. That's down to me to coach and manage that. That's what I'll continue to fight to do."

Warnock praised Yannick Bolasie and Jedinak, who had both come back from long trips during international week.

"I think we'd have done that to most teams. That's just this league in general. If you take anyone lightly, you can get turned over.

"I think they were determined, you could see that the way they started. But we could have had six or seven more points after playing some good stuff so far, and we took our chances and got our rewards.

"We played some really good stuff and looked well organised and difficult to break down."

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