Villa loss a dose of reality - Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his players were served a dose of reality this week and he hopes they have learned they cannot afford to be the slightest bit complacent.
An unexpected 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa last weekend saw the Reds slip seven points off the pace for Champions League qualification and with a packed schedule coming up Rodgers is keen for his side to swiftly address the issue.
"What has come to Liverpool is realism and where we are at and it's been great for the mentality of the players," he said. "Our learning from it (the Villa defeat) was that no game is easy in this division."
He went on: "The comfort with which we were playing and the opportunities we created in the first 25 minutes would maybe have made you thought we were going to get the result - it's very easily done.
"It is great learning that you can't afford to (think like that), you have to keep pushing. The reaction of the players has been first class - their willingness to put it right and get three points this weekend is very high and I've seen that in training."
The visit of Fulham on Saturday evening signals a sequence of five matches in 16 days and Rodgers has warned his players against easing up. "I always focus the players on the next game," he said. "It is our job to maybe look at the teams in advance of the games as it's obviously a busy period and the players are human beings.
"You have to prepare the teams and look at the physical recovery in between but that is for the staff and the management to do that. The players' focus is purely on the next game because it is irrelevant what will happen at Stoke and QPR, you have to take care of Fulham."
Prior to last weekend's matches Liverpool had the chance to move within two points of fourth place, which would have been some achievement after their worst start to a season for over a century.
That they did not achieve it could have been down to the added pressure which came with that situation. But Rodgers stressed that was something the squad should be used to.
"The main reason why I came here was the expectancy to win things and that's something that we'll fight for," he said. "But you can't ever get too far ahead. We were going along nicely and we're still in a position where we can achieve our objectives and that's the most important thing."
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