Rodgers still fights shy of Liverpool title talk

21 March 2014 01:16

Brendan Rodgers continues to insist there has been no discussion about Liverpool's Premier League title prospects as they look to pile the pressure on leaders Chelsea.

Liverpool travel to Cardiff on Saturday four points behind Chelsea, with a game in hand and with Jose Mourinho's side still to travel to Anfield.

Last weekend's 3-0 win at rivals Manchester United made it 26 points from a possible 30 since the start of 2014 for Liverpool and sparked renewed talk of a first championship since 1990.

After the trip to Wales, Liverpool host struggling Sunderland and off-colour Tottenham before travelling to West Ham.

Home games against Manchester City and Chelsea come either side of a trip to Norwich and they finish the campaign with matches against Crystal Palace and Newcastle.

But Liverpool manager Rodgers is adamant that not even the significant victory at Old Trafford has had his players discussing ending the Anfield club's drought.

"It was a wonderful result at Old Trafford but (there's been) no talk about the title. We are just enjoying our work and focused on Cardiff.

"I don't know how good the opportunity is to win the league. There are tough games right the way through. It's a tough game against Cardiff. We will speak about the run in at the end of the season."

Wales midfielder Joe Allen's influence at Liverpool has been limited this season due to injury and the form of others.

But the former Swansea man, 24, has impressed in back-to-back matches against Southampton and United and Rodgers feels Allen will have a significant impact on the rest of the campaign.

"At Old Trafford, he covered more ground than anyone. The way he presses the ball and looks after the ball; in this country, sometimes it can be frowned upon," said former Swansea manager Rodgers.

"People look for midfield players that are either scoring goals and wanting goals or smashing into challenges.

"Joe is a really intelligent footballer; he understands the ball, he protects the ball really well for the team, and his work-rate and intensity is incredible.

"I believe that he is one of the top Premier League talents."

- Squad close to full fitness -

As well as having no other competitions to contend with, Rodgers has also been boosted by his squad being close to full fitness for the final weeks of the season.

France centre-back Mamadou Sakho, who has been out since December with a hamstring injury, was on the bench at Old Trafford, leaving left-back Jose Enrique as the only played injured.

Cardiff will kick off second bottom with their only win in their last six league outings being a 3-1 success over basement club Fulham.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has failed to better the results of his predecessor, Malky Mackay, and Cardiff supporters are planning to protest against owner Vincent Tan before the match.

They are upset that the Malaysian will not overturn his controversial decision to ditch the club's traditional blue shirts in favour of red, which Tan regards as luckier -- although no evidence for that has yet presented itself on the pitch this season.

Liverpool will aim to take full advantage of their hosts' problems and Cardiff striker Craig Bellamy, a former Anfield favourite himself, said: "This Liverpool team, it's the Liverpool team I grew up watching.

"I get so excited watching Liverpool. I just feel this is such a great opportunity for Liverpool now to really establish themselves, and hopefully go on and not just win a title, but kick on from there and dominate for a number of years."

The Bluebirds are without injured defenders Mark Hudson, Ben Turner and Andy Taylor.

Source: AFP

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