Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, April 21, 2014
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers does not expect any tougher challenges in his side’s bid for a first Premier League title after surviving a second-half onslaught at Carrow Road.
Rodgers’ men sealed a Champions League spot for next season with an 11th straight top-flight win, but the Reds’ boss admitted his men were made to work hard for the points.
“It was a brilliant win for us,” he said. “It was a really good game, tactically. We had to change a few times. Both teams started with a diamond. We looked at Neil (Adams) and how he’s been with his youth teams and analysed the shapes he’s played. They played a diamond last week at Fulham. We started with five midfield players to try and dominate centrally.
“In the first 15-20 minutes, we got our two goals and carried on through the first half. We showed great quality and were nerveless in our possession and control.
“Give credit to Norwich, they changed their shape to 4-2-3-1 in the second half. They got a goal that gave them and the crowd a little bit of momentum, and it was always going to be a tough game for us. We showed everything again. The quality of our play, positioning and movement in the first half was exceptional. In the second half – when we had to show character, determination and resilience – we had it in bundles.
“It was an incredible victory and big congratulations to the players because we can finish no lower than third, which guarantees Champions League football. A wonderful win.”
Rodgers again sought to downplay his side’s surge to a first title in 24 years despite moving five points clear of nearest rivals Chelsea ahead of the Blues’ pending visit to Anfield.
“At the beginning of the season, I think everyone thought it would be a struggle for us to even get to fourth,” he said. “It shows the magnitude of the effort the players have put in, to have at least guaranteed that at this stage and have Champions League football at Anfield again next season. For us, it’s just concentrating on the performance level. We’ve got other goals. It’s now 96 goals we’ve scored this season in the Premier League. When I arrived 20 months ago, the team had 47, so it shows how the attacking set-up and mentality in the team has improved. We want to be one of the very few teams to reach 100-plus goals in a season. We’re trying to play attacking football, with a team that is set up to attack and we want to win games.
“My players give me everything. It’s 11 wins now and it’s an incredible achievement. We’ve cemented the first objective. Now we will look forward to next weekend, which will be a great atmosphere at Anfield.”