Rodgers looking for killer instinct

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iol spt feb14 Stevie G-Liverpool Getty Images Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has urged his players to continue to be ruthless at Anfield ahead of the visit of former club Swansea City. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Liverpool - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has urged his players to continue to be ruthless at Anfield ahead of the visit of former club Swansea City on Sunday.

The Reds, who occupy fourth spot, have been imperious at home this season, winning 11 of their 13 Premier League games and scoring 38 goals in the process.

Supporters at Anfield have been treated to thumping 5-1 and 4-0 victories over Arsenal and Everton in their last two home games, and Rodgers does not want there to be any let up as they try to keep pace with leaders Chelsea.

“Our approach is very aggressive,” Rodgers said. “We go into every game, and in particular our home games, looking to own the pitch.

“It's our home ground. It's our changing rooms, it's our field and it's our supporters. So we have to play like we own it.

“That's always been the mantra here for many, many years. It's one that we go in thinking about ourselves.

“We respect the opponent that we play - every game at this level is tough. But we back ourselves now and we expect to win.

“I think it's dealing with that pressure, which has really helped. We've got good organisation.

“Everyone knows their function in the team and everyone is working tirelessly in order to achieve the results.”

Liverpool are expected to recall midfielder Jordan Henderson to their starting line-up after he was rested in the FA Cup fifth round defeat at Arsenal.

Right-back Glen Johnson (knee) is back in the squad, but midfielder Lucas, left-back Jose Enrique (both knee) and centre-back Mamadou Sakho (hamstring) are all still injured.

Rodgers also admitted his players are constantly striving for improvement - both individually and collectively - which has been borne out in results and performances this season.

“Part of our philosophy here is about developing individual players,” Rodgers added.

“We play within a team game and the team is the most important aspect of everything, but it's about what you can do to improve players in every facet of their game.

“That's something that we take great pride in - developing the talent, physically and technically, tactically and mentally.

“There's been that constant improvement of players and that's something that is done on an individual basis and within the constructs of the team as well.”

Meanwhile, Swansea interim manager Garry Monk believes he is ready to square up to Liverpool thanks to a pep talk from Rafael Benitez.

Monk went head-to-head with Benitez in Thursday's Europa League 0-0 draw against Napoli at the Liberty Stadium.

Afterwards, 34-year-old Monk, in his first managerial post, received words of advice from ex-Liverpool boss Benitez, who lifted the 2005 European Cup during his time at Anfield, on how to deal with the job ahead of Sunday's trip to Merseyside.

“It was great to listen to Rafa and really interesting to hear his views on the game,” Monk said.

“He gave me advice on the people you have around you, trust yourself and be your own person because at the end of the day the buck stops with you.

“You have to be the one to make the final decision, know what other people are telling you.

“It was brilliant to speak to someone like that. I never thought I'd be sat with someone like that a few weeks back. You have to take it all in while you can.

“Hopefully we can take our performance against Napoli and the confidence from that into the Premier League.”

Swansea's former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey should feature after returning from a hamstring injury as a substitute against Napoli.

However, Spanish striker Michu is still nursing a long-standing ankle injury.

Sapa-AFP


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