Belfast Telegraph

Rodgers targets top two

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has targeted a top-two finish in the Barclays Premier League after seeing his side extend their fine run of form with a 1-0 win at Swansea.

Jordan Henderson's 68th minute winner cut the gap on fourth-placed Manchester United to two points ahead of the two clubs' seismic showdown at Anfield on Sunday, but Rodgers revealed he's looking higher than simple Champions League qualification and finishing as runners-up to champions-elect Chelsea.

For Rodgers feels that Manchester City's shock weekend defeat at Burnley has opened up the battle for second spot with only four points separating City, Arsenal, United and Liverpool with nine games remaining.

"We've put ourselves in a great position," Rodgers said after Liverpool had recorded a fifth straight league win at the Liberty Stadium.

"We want to finish as high as we can and everyone talks about fourth, but it's the same every year.

"We'll do the best we can and Manchester City's result at the weekend gives us an opportunity to finish second.

"We've got to use the mentality, run and confidence we've got, take that into every game and see where it takes us."

Liverpool, who saw skipper Steven Gerrard return as a 64th minute substitute after missing seven games with a hamstring problem, had to withstand an excellent Swansea first-half performance which left the visitors chasing shadows at times.

Simon Mignolet had to make smart saves from Bafetimbi Gomis and Gylfi Sigurdsson to keep Swansea out but Liverpool took control after the break, even if Henderson's sixth goal of the season fortunately flew over Lukasz Fabianski as Jordi Amat's clearance stuck him on the shin.

"It was a wonderful demonstration of character and resilience in the team, especially the way we played first half," Rodgers said.

"Any system you play doesn't work unless you have the ability to work.

"We just weren't anywhere near it first half but that character and resilience kept us in the game.

"We knew we were going to be better in the second half.

"We changed the structure of the team and I felt we dominated the game in the second half.

"In the second half we ran more without the ball and off it as well and shortened the game, and we are a lot better side when we do that and press the ball."

Swansea manager Garry Monk felt his side paid the penalty for not taking their chances when they were on top before the break.

"During the first half we were superb and dominated the game," Monk said.

"We played some fantastic stuff and I feel it's an opportunity missed.

"We had some good chances in the first half and should have scored one or two.

"Unfortunately we didn't capitalise on that, and it cost us.

"When you don't take your chances, a side like Liverpool will come back into the game - but I thought we played some of our best football there."

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