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Reds boss Rodgers remains a Eurosceptic

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07 Apr 2013 05:47:24

Reds boss Rodgers remains a Eurosceptic

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claims he has put the prospect of qualifying for Europe to the back of his mind ahead of his team's meeting with West Ham at Anfield on Sunday.

The Reds trail fifth-placed Arsenal by five points having played a game more than the Gunners so will need a strong finish to the season if they are to qualify for the Europa League.

"I am not even thinking about it," Rodgers said. "We just need to win the next game. We've won six out of our last seven in all competitions. Hopefully we showed the Southampton performance was a blip.

"We've come back and showed great determination and will last week, as well as quality, to beat Aston Villa, and we want to continue with that.

"West Ham will be a difficult game for us. They're a tough team to play against, they've some very good players, so we'll need to be at the top of our game, physically, mentally, tactically, to get something from it.

"But how the players have been in training, how they've been for the last few months, gives us great hope we can finish strong."

Rodgers also revealed that Steven Gerrard's contract will be discussed soon and the 32-year-old could be offered a long-term deal.

The Liverpool and England captain's current deal expires at the end of the 2013-14 season and, with his form exceptional again in recent months after a dip at the start of the campaign, Rodgers is keen to ensure he finishes his career at Anfield.

"I, as a manager, want to make sure he stays here because he's very important for what I want to do," said Rodgers.

"Can I still see him playing at the top level in five years time? Yes, why not. He's a brilliant professional. Look at the likes of Javier Zanetti at Inter Milan, and Andrea Pirlo, these guys who are still talked about as top European players.

"Steven currently is that at the moment, and I can see him being that for the next number of years."

Meanwhile, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce admits he is frustrated he must do without Andy Carroll on Sunday, a week after the on-loan Liverpool forward, who cannot play against his parent club, scored two in the 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Instead, one of the less than prolific pair of Carlton Cole and Marouane Chamakh must lead the line at Anfield, where the Hammers have not won since September 1963.

"It is frustrating and it's frustrating for him as well, but that's the way the fixtures have fallen," Allardyce said.

"We've got Carlton and Chamakh who could step into the team and hopefully they can deliver the sort of performance Andy can deliver, because that's what we'll need.

"It's frustrating for him and for us, but that was the terms of the agreement.

"Our weakness has been scoring goals. We have to get the chances first and we have to show the sort of quality we showed against West Brom to try and get anything against Liverpool."

Allardyce is keen to make the Carroll deal permanent at the end of the season, but that can only happen if West Ham, currently six points above the bottom three, retain their Premier League status.

"There'd be a lot to be discussed between ourselves, Liverpool and Andy before that could be the case," Allardyce added.

"But once secure and once safe and once we've done all we need to do with everybody at the end of the season given, touch wood, we're in the Premier League, then we'll move on with that business as quickly as we possibly can."


AFP

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