Rodgers wants repeat dose from Reds

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iol spt feb11 Sterling-Arsenal

Reuters/Nigel Roddis

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has challenged his players to match the intensity they showed against Arsenal when they travel to bottom of the Premier League Fulham. Photo by: Reuters/Nigel Roddis

Liverpool – Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has challenged his players to match the intensity they showed against Arsenal when they travel to bottom of the Premier League Fulham on Wednesday.

The Reds are on course to end their five-season exile from the top four and the Champions League and underlined their claim on fourth place with a 5-1 win over then leaders Arsenal at the weekend.

Southampton and Manchester United are the only sides presently in the top-half of the table that Liverpool, now unbeaten in eight matches, still have to visit in the league this season.

But Rodgers believes the Cottagers will provide a stern test after drawing 2-2 at Manchester United on Sunday.

“Every game is critical for us whether it's a top team or a team at the bottom. Fulham showed against Manchester United that they've got some very good players, they showed great resilience in the game and took the lead.

“There are some brilliant professionals there and Rene (Meulensteen) will look to introduce one or two younger players.

“It will be a difficult game and away from home in the Premier League is difficult but we have a belief and a confidence in our play and hopefully we can take that into Wednesday's game and get another good three points,” the Northern Irishman added.

Liverpool moved within six points of the top of the Premier League with Saturday's win but Rodgers maintains that finishing in the top four is his priority for a club that has not won the league title since 1990.

“The momentum has been building and building, but I just think it's unprecedented to go from being where we were last year in seventh position (to first).

“I'm very much full of optimism for this football club and the development of the team, but I also have to be realistic as well and I think it (winning the title) is something that might be too much for us this season.”

Defender Glen Johnson is still out with an ankle injury and Daniel Agger, Mamdou Sakho, Lucas and Jose Enrique are also sidelined.

Meanwhile Fulham centre-back Dan Burn believes the draw with United can provide a springboard for Fulham as they attempt to climb out of the bottom three.

“It's going to be really tough on Wednesday night. Liverpool are flying at the moment and that victory against Arsenal on Saturday was immense for them. But the point at Old Trafford felt like a win to us.

“I thought we showed great character to come back and getting a point felt like a win.”

For Lewis Holtby, Fulham's relegation battle also presents an opportunity for the midfielder to demonstrate he is good enough to play in the Premier League after being allowed to leave Tottenham Hotspur at the end of the transfer window.

Holtby has already made an impact at his new club, setting up Steve Sidwell for the Cottagers' opening goal at Old Trafford.

“First of all, I'm just thinking about Fulham and I just want to stay up. I want to have a really good 13 games that are left this season and I want to show what I can do,” said Holtby.

Wednesday's fixture has been called into doubt by threatened industrial action on the London Underground which Fulham said left them concerned about whether its safetry staff could get to their Craven Cottage ground in west London in time.

Fulham said they would announce at 1500GMT Tuesday whether or not the match would be postponed. – Sapa-AFP


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