Brendan Rodgers gave a wide-ranging interview to radio station TalkSport on Monday morning in which he discussed Liverpool’s current form and Jamie Carragher‘s future once he hangs his boots up. Here’s the best of what the boss had to say.
On finding consistency:
Rodgers: We were all very disappointed after West Brom because we’re trying to reverse this pattern of inconsistency. Everyone has been putting their heart and soul into trying to change that around. That takes a little bit of time, but I’ve got to give credit to the players because they work ever so hard every day. There’s big expectation on the players here to do well and they’re giving everything to do that. Against West Brom, if we’d got the early goal — like yesterday — it probably would have been a different story, but we didn’t and we conceded from our first shot on target after 80 minutes. But that’s the way it goes and we’re working very hard to get the consistency and change the pattern that we’ve had this season.
On Philippe Coutinho:
Rodgers: He’s a very, very good young player. I saw him when he was 15 for Brazil and tracked his career since that. He went to Inter Milan and they bought him when he was 16, but went there at 18 and did very well getting into their team. He was a player I really liked and we’re very fortunate to get him. He’s only 20, but he’s got wonderful technique and great power for a young player — you saw his shot yesterday. I think people were surprised because of how slight he is, but his technique is terrific and the power of the shot saw it end up go in. He’s a very, very gifted player.
On Daniel Sturridge:
Rodgers: He’s been outstanding and given the team what we were looking for. It’s a shame we haven’t had him right from the beginning of the season because his and Luis Suarez‘s combination and interplay up front along with the wide players and midfielders has been outstanding. Daniel will be a prolific goalscorer and I think he’ll show that here in the next few years.
On building for the future:
Rodgers: It’s a bit of both, really. You’ve got to have a sense of the future, but certainly we’re in the now and trying to win as many games as we possibly can. We’re going to do everything we can to finish as high as we can this year. It’s very important for us not to get too far ahead of ourselves. We entered into the West Brom game in high hope — we probably could not have gone into that game with any more confidence after the way we had been playing, scoring goals and having reversed our home form — but obviously we disappointed. We got back to winning ways yesterday and we’ve just got to look at the next game, try to make a push and a great effort to see where we can finish.
On Zenit St Petersburg:
Rodgers: We played well over there up until 70 minutes. They’re a good side that have played in the [UEFA] Champions League this year and invested a lot of money into their team. We just had a couple of lapses in concentration which cost us. If we can get an early goal [on Thursday], the crowd will be unbelievable, as everyone knows Anfield is for a European evening. We’re really looking forward to the game and if we can stay as solid as we’ve been, we know we can score goals. It’s just a pity the likes of Daniel Sturridge and young Coutinho aren’t available because they could really help the group, but we’re going to give it a right good go.
On the Liverpool challenge:
Rodgers: I absolutely love it. It’s a real privilege to be the manager here. It’s pressure every single day and one with expectancy level, and rightly so because of the great history of this club. The expectancy is to be up there winning titles and European Cups, so that’s the pressure that comes with this role. It’s an unbelievable challenge and I’ve been given brilliant support. You’re always going to have your critics and I’ve certainly found that out this season, moving to a big club where the spotlight is even greater, but I’ve loved every minute of it. The players have been outstanding, the staff around me and the supporters have really, really helped me in this first season. Hopefully I can repay that faith over the next couple of seasons and really take the club forward.
On the end of the season:
Rodgers: We had two big games away from home where we picked up two points against Arsenal and Man City, which normally might be a half-decent return, but we felt we should have won those games having played so well and been in front. We’re just going to try and work on our consistency – we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve got 11 games to go and we’re going to put everything into them, along with the European games, to try and have a good end to the season. We’ll build again in the summer and then hopefully go for a big push next year.
On Jamie Carragher:
I have had regular conversations with Jamie since I first met him last summer. He is a guy who has put his heart, soul and life into Liverpool and as one of the local players there’s even more pressure on him. He’s been absolutely outstanding for me this season, even when he hasn’t been playing. As a manager, he’s a real privilege to work with — he’s very committed, has got old school values and ethics, really respects the manager and his decisions and just works very, very hard to prove he can be in the team. He’s shown even at 35 that he’s one of the best pure defenders in the league. He hasn’t totally made up his mind what he’s doing yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a wee period away. Over time, I’m sure he’ll have a role here at the football club, but at the moment we’re only concentrating on his playing — and his playing has been top class.