Rodgers seeking home comforts
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admits he is not entirely sure why the team's previously strong home record has been so poor in recent times. Thursday's 3-2 Europa League defeat to Udinese means the Reds have now gone five games in all competitions without a win on their own turf, with their only victory there this term coming in a qualifier for the continental tournament against Belarusian outfit FC Gomel. Liverpool also struggled at Anfield last season under Rodgers' predecessor Kenny Dalglish, taking maximum points in just six of their 19 home Barclays Premier League matches. It is something Rodgers finds difficult to comprehend, but he has stressed the players are working hard to address the issue and is not convinced they are suffering any kind of stage fright. Speaking ahead of tomorrow's home clash against Stoke, Rodgers said: "Sometimes it is just a confidence factor, and you also have to imagine that when any team comes to Anfield, it is one of the biggest games of the (visiting) players' lives. "Playing at home is certainly not a distraction. I think to play at Anfield is a real honour and a privilege and the support we get from the crowd is incredible. "The backing we get every time we play there is fantastic, so it is just one of those statistics there is no explanation for. "What you have to do is just try to work very hard. "We have performed well there this season - in the Europa League (qualifying) game we have won, and we have come close in a number of the Premier League games and should have won. "Obviously it overspills into last season as well, but psychologically, there is nothing there for me (in terms of a problem). "We have just got to get the results - hopefully we can get some wins there and perform well for the rest of the season." Following his appointment as manager over the summer, Rodgers has had a mixed start to his tenure at Liverpool, with the team accruing only five points from their opening six league fixtures. He has been trying to introduce a dynamic, aesthetically-pleasing style of play at the club which is in sharp contrast to the direct approach Stoke are associated with. It is hard to deny that the Potters have impressed in terms of the way they have adapted to life in the Premier League since their promotion in 2008, achieving consistent mid-table finishes under boss Tony Pulis. Rodgers has nothing but praise for his opposite number and feels Stoke do not get the credit they deserve. "No matter what brand of football you play, playing against any team in this league is difficult, and Stoke are certainly one of those teams," Rodgers said. "I have great respect for Tony and the work he has done. He has taken Stoke a long, long way from the time he went in there. "He got them promoted and they are now very much an established team at this level. "There is no right or wrong way to play football - at the end of the day, it is about getting results. "Tony has his way of working and I don't think they get enough praise for the actual football they do play. "They do play some good football, but obviously, they have a stigma about playing a slightly longer game. "You have to work as a team and defend against that, and then bring your own style to the game." Meanwhile, Rodgers has spoken of how highly he rates Reds defender Daniel Agger, who has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool. "Daniel is a terrific player and I am absolutely delighted he has committed himself. It's a big boost for everyone connected with the club," said Rodgers. "He's one of the best centre-backs in world football. His balance, his reading of the game, his defensive qualities and his ability to bring it out from the back is outstanding."
Related Liverpool News