Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers delighted that Liverpool can dream of league crown

Cardiff 3 Liverpool 5

Andrew Baldock

Brendan Rodgers is happy for Liverpool fans to "believe and dream" as the Barclays Premier League title race heads for a thrilling conclusion.

Victory over Sunderland at Anfield on Wednesday night would leave Liverpool one point behind leaders Chelsea with seven games left.

And while manager Rodgers continues to straight-bat all talk of a possible first title since 1990, the reality is that his free-scoring team have become major silverware contenders.

Luis Suarez's sixth Liverpool hat-trick in a 6-3 win at Cardiff saw him equal Robbie Fowler's club record tally of 28 Premier League goals in a season, while a Martin Skrtel double and Daniel Sturridge's late finish floored the relegation-threatened Welsh side.

"We are focusing on the immediate future," Rodgers said.

"The fans can believe and dream, and when you come to see your team play away from home and they score six goals, you've got every right to do that. They have been a big part of our ongoing success this year.

"I've got to say that I am really looking forward to the Sunderland game. It feels like we haven't played at home for ages.

"Wednesday will be a great night for us. We've now got five games left at Anfield, with three away from home. Anfield is a special place to play football, so for us, it's about the immediate future."

Liverpool did not have things all their own way at Cardiff City Stadium as they twice trailed to goals by Jordan Mutch and Fraizer Campbell, but there was no stopping them once Suarez, Sturridge and company turned on the heat.

"We don't work to just outscore teams; we work on our balance," Rodgers added. "We are certainly not a team that is not worried about defending, that's not the case at all.

"We were off the back of two clean sheets against two difficult teams, Southampton and Manchester United.

"We conceded too much space, but the key thing is how we respond and how we have grown over the last 18 months. There has been that resilience and confidence to know that we can get back in the game.

"We will analyse the other elements of the game that we can better. That'll always be the case.

"Look at our imagination and creativity. You sensed the crowd felt that every time we were in their half, we could score. That is a wonderful recognition of the type of team that we are."

Rodgers also paid tribute to Skrtel, who scored the second and third goals.

"Every team needs goals from everywhere on the pitch," he said. "That's the sixth goal he (Skrtel) has scored this season. He is great at attacking the ball – he finishes like a striker. He has been a real stalwart for us this season."

Cardiff remain firmly in the relegation zone, and attention now switches to an encounter at fellow strugglers West Brom next week.

"We will keep fighting," City manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. "We were fantastic in the first-half. When you play against an attacking side you have to test their back-line, and I think that is what we did. I think that is the biggest plus."

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