Liverpool will come back stronger, says Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists the pain of seeing the Premier League title seemingly slip through their grasp should be viewed as a formative experience for the club.
The Reds threw away a 3-0 lead inside the last 11 minutes at Crystal Palace to draw 3-3 on Monday and hand the initiative in the title race to Manchester City.
Many felt this year was the Merseysiders' best chance to end the 24-year wait for a championship but Rodgers, who is set to sign a new contract at the end of the season, has always maintained it would be difficult to leap from seventh to first place inside 12 months. However, they have taken several steps forward and secured a return to the Champions League and the Reds boss feels it is all part of the learning curve.
"To be successful you have to be able to lose," said the Ulsterman.
"If you look over the years the great winners have been teams and individuals who have lost and gone on to become champions again.
"For us we have made great strides this season and there is still another game to go.
"If anyone had told us in August we would be top going into the last week of the season we would've taken it. We've qualified for the Champions League but there is an awful lot more we want to achieve."
After a shaky first six months while the players got used to his methods the last year and a half has seen a definite upward trend in performances and results.
Rodgers' reward for securing a return to the Champions League after a four-year absence will be a new and improved contract.
The paperwork has not yet been drawn up for the new deal but it has been in the pipeline for several months and there is a general agreement on both sides that it will happen once the campaign is over.
The Reds boss has consistently stated he wanted to concentrate on the final weeks of the season and not contract issues – either his or the players – but owners Fenway Sports Group are more than happy with the progress which has been made.
Rodgers paid tribute to FSG for giving him the platform on which to build that success.
"I would like to thank the owners and executive team. When I came in here two years ago I came in to continue the great work done by Kenny (Dalglish)," he added.
"The owners took a young guy of 39 into one of the biggest clubs in the world and gave me the chance to develop the vision of how I want to work. If it wasn't for their support I probably wouldn't be here because of the pressure of modern football."