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Rodgers happy with Liverpool’s path

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Reuters

Liverpool may stand five games from their first league title in 24 years but manager Brendan Rodgers believes the pressure is off his side. Photo by: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has no complaints about the way in which the Reds have reached the top of the Premier League table ahead of Sunday's showdown with big-spending Manchester City.

City, bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour, won the Premier League in 2012 with a star-studded side many of whom are still at Eastlands.

While Liverpool are not exactly paupers, being backed by US-based owner John W Henry and his Fenway Sports Group, the fact is they have spent considerably less on transfers than City, their opponents at Anfield this weekend.

Yet, under Rodgers's guidance, the team have risen from seventh in the table at the end of last season to two points clear at the top ahead of this latest round of fixtures.

There is no doubt Liverpool's approach off the field, and their attacking style on it, has made them the 'neutrals' favourites to win the title.

However, Rodgers was at pains Friday not to criticise the way City, four points adrift in third place but with two games in hand, had gone about achieving success.

“Both clubs work on different models, we are on different roads in terms of how we want to achieve success,” he said.

“We are a club who have an identity and a philosophy of how we want to work and that is built through the club and we will hopefully cultivate and grow it over the years to come.

“However this season finishes it will be a great victory for the model we have employed here of player development.

“I won't disrespect what (City) have done because they had a lot of new money come into the club in order to gain success.

“They have invested that money wisely in a lot of top players and that has won them the league, the FA Cup and the League Cup, so I am sure their supporters won't be complaining.”

He added: “Liverpool as a club is very much a development club Ädevelopment for players and for people and it is a model we are happy with and will give us sustainable success over a long period.

“We are looking to build and create something here which gives the young players at the club hope they can pull on the great shirt of Liverpool.

“They have seen local boys come through here, a lot of young players getting an opportunity, and they have also seen a model of football which is exciting.

Turning to Sunday's match, Rodgers said: “It is a significant game, there is no doubt about that.

“It is two teams who have done extremely well this season in their own different ways but there is still a lot of work to do.

“I am sleeping very well but I've not dreamt of lifting the title,” Rodgers explained. “Our objective remains to qualify for the Champions League, only then can we think of other things.”

Sunday's match will also see Liverpool mark the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 of their fans lost their lives during an FA Cup semi-final.

“We carry it every day of our lives here: manager, players, supporters,” Rodgers said.

“The victims and the families are with us every day and that is why we work hard to ensure they can have some comfort from seeing their club move forward.

“This weekend will be huge for that.”

Sapa-AFP


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