Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: We want to keep evolving and winning trophies because that's what being at a big club is about

By Andrew Baldcock

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers feels it is for others to judge whether or not his dynamic title-chasers are currently the most exciting team in European football.

A 6-3 demolition of relegation-threatened Cardiff took Liverpool's Barclays Premier League goals tally for this season to a remarkable 82 with eight games left.

Star striker Luis Suarez's hat-trick also meant he equalled Robbie Fowler's club record of 28 goals in one Premier League campaign, and Rodgers has urged his team to carry on scoring.

"We create a lot, and for me it's just about winning and winning in style," he said.

"We've got games to go, and we just want to keep scoring goals."

Asked if there was a more exciting team to watch in Europe, Rodgers added: "It's for others to judge. I think the variety and imagination in our game is at a real top level.

"When I came in last season I said that after scoring more goals last year we wanted to find 20-plus more goals in the team, and that was through different areas and through more work, so we've done that. But our idea is to make constant improvement.

"I know, as a manager, that when you are stood on the touchline, the thing you fear in a game is the opponent and their offensive threat. You are playing against a team that you know can score from anywhere, any angle, and a team that can dominate the ball.

"It is something that we have developed and cultivated here, it's not something that was presented to us. For us, the confidence and belief in our game - that mental resilience - is improving.

"I think there is now an inherent belief in the team. You see the players, and what was great for me (against Cardiff) is that you see the self-coaching going on.

"We spend a lot of time coaching on the training field, but now the players are self-coaching each other in the game to operate, to have more numbers around the ball, making angles.

"There was a great moment whenever Steven Gerrard filled in at right-back and Glen Johnson played in midfield for a little period. That's what we talk about. It doesn't matter where you are on the field when you change, as long as you fill the spaces."

Liverpool's non-involvement in European competition this season - unlike their title rivals - has given Rodgers extra preparation time between league games.

And while he readily acknowledges the benefits of that, the target for next term is to be involved in as much as possible - highlighted by a potential Champions League campaign.

"That's what we want next year, in fairness," he added. "We don't want to be playing one game a week.

"We want to be in the competitions until the end, we want to keep evolving and winning trophies because that's what being at a big club is about, and for that you want the games.

"But I always said we would take it this year as a chance to evolve our style and our ideas, and certainly the time on the training field has helped them.

"I am a coaching manager, so me and my staff, we work tirelessly on improving the individual.

"It's about the environment, coaching, giving people an opportunity. Coaching is to key to that, both on and off the field, and that has really helped us this year in developing our team ethos and individuals."

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

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

"We are focusing on the immediate future," he 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 success this year.

"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."

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