Reds three steps away from greatness

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iol spt apr21 Suarez Reuters Brendan Rodgers wants Liverpool to smash through the 100-goal barrier after they moved within touching distance of their first title since 1990. Photo by: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Brendan Rodgers wants Liverpool to smash through the 100-goal barrier after they moved within touching distance of their first title since 1990.

Liverpool opened a five-point lead on second-placed Chelsea with three games to go by beating Norwich 3-2 at Carrow Road thanks, in part, to an outstanding display from Raheem Sterling.

Rodgers described the England forward as ‘arguably the best young player in Europe’ after he scored twice and set up the other for Luis Suarez, who became the first Liverpool striker since Ian Rush in 1986 to score 30 league goals in a season.

They were made to fight for their 11th straight win by Norwich’s spirited comeback but Rodgers said: ‘It was an incredible victory and big congratulations to the players. That means we can’t finish

lower than third, which guarantees Champions League football. I don’t think anybody would have expected that and it shows the effort we’ve put in and the quality we’ve shown. We still have other goals. We’ve scored 96 now. When I came in 20 months ago we’d scored 47.

‘It shows the attacking set-up and mentality and how much we’ve improved. We want to score 100 Premier League goals. We’re looking forward to next week (against Chelsea). There should be a great atmosphere inside Anfield.’

Chelsea are the only team to have reached a century of goals in a Premier League season, scoring 103 in 2009-10.

Rodgers, who used some powerful words from Margaret Aspinall — the chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group — to inspire his players, reserved special praise for 19-year-old Sterling.

‘If he doesn’t win Young Player of the Year, I’ll be shocked,’ said Rodgers. ‘He’s always had the talent but I’ve been really pleased with his maturity. He’s put an awful lot of time into his work.

‘We’ve tried to play him in different positions to improve his intelligence. He’s got that belief he can be a really good player and he’s really humble.’

There is no sense Rodgers is feeling the weight of expectation as Liverpool close in on the Barclays Premier League trophy and he says he is relishing the responsibility.

‘We had the Hillsborough Memorial Service last week, which was really touching,’ said Rodgers. ‘We used some words from Margaret, the words she said about stress and how it can prove difficult but also give you determination to fight.

‘Before the game we stuck those words on the wall. This is a club that is one with those who fought to achieve their ultimate goal. We’ve tried to do it in the right spirit, playing attacking football.’ – Daily Mail


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