Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Brendan Rodgers: the good teams grind out results like Liverpool win over Sunderland

Nervous moments: Sunderland's Ki Sung-Yeung gives Liverpool a late scare during last night's Premier League game at Anfield

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt his side got their rewards for showing patience against Sunderland last night.

"It was always going to be really difficult," the Ulsterman admitted after the Reds went second in the title race.

"There's a perception that we're always going to score four or five every game," he added.

"There was a block of eight which was hard for us to penetrate.

"We had to be patient and then our quality came through. Our work rate was outstanding and we scored two excellent goals."

He added: "We made the point that we had to show patience."

Asked if it was a win that marked them out as possible champions, Rodgers said: "Certainly it's a win that good teams grind out.

"We're one point behind and this is it. We will recover for the weekend."

Steven Gerrard was glad to get the chance to put Liverpool on their way to the 2-1 victory.

Gerrard's free-kick was followed up by Daniel Sturridge's 20th league goal of the season, before Ki Sung-yeung made for a rather tense finish at Anfield last night.

Captain Gerrard is used to leaving free-kicks to leading scorer Luis Suarez and was just glad to be able to have a shot at goal.

"Credit to Sunderland, they came to shut up shop and made it difficult," he said.

"I don't usually get a go (at free-kicks). Luis Suarez has been magnificent on set-pieces but sometimes you need people to step in and I got it right.

"He let me take one! He wouldn't let me take one at Cardiff! But it doesn't matter who gets the goals. We've won nothing yet."

Sturridge has won plenty of plaudits, though.

He and Suarez have both got 20 league goals this season and he said: "It's a great feeling but it's more important for the team. It's not about personal accolades."

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet was pleased that his side showed enough to suggest their season remains alive.

"I think we can take a lot because everything was set for a four, five, six, seven-nil, which of course we didn't like," he said.

"The feeling of seeing this crowd quiet at the end and then celebrating at the end shows it wasn't an easy game for Liverpool.

"The thing (relegation) is killing me. We can play the way we can today but cannot beat the teams at the bottom.

"We need goals, that's the key also. We are not happy because we lost but people did not expect us to play like that."

Meanwhile, Suarez is now as short as 1/10 to win the PFA Player of the Year accolade.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard is available at 10/1 with Manchester City's Yaya Toure as big as 14/1.

John Aldridge, a prolific Liverpool striker in the 1980s, feels Suarez – whose behaviour has counted against him in the past when personal awards have been handed out – is a certainty.

"If he doesn't get the PFA Player of the Year award there will be something seriously wrong," said the former Republic star.

"He has behaved impeccably this season. He has learned from past mistakes."

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