Liverpool ‘outstanding’ against Sunderland, says Brendan Rodgers
Reds manager says summer signings coming of age after 1-0 win over Gus Poyet’s side
Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic (right) celebrates with teammate Steven Gerrard (right) after scoring the winner at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Rodgers came under pressure earlier in the season due to a run of poor results and a host of summer signings failing to make an impression. Yet their hopes of a Barclays Premier League top-four finish have been given a boost by a run that has seen them lose just once in 12 games.
Rodgers told BT Sport 1: “Our confidence is returning. It’s a team that gets better and better as the season goes on. This year a lot of new players have come in but they’re understanding their way of working
“We’ve got a lot of exciting young talent here that are just slowly starting to feel their way into our team and our philosophy. They’re playing very well so we just want to keep that continuity and keep that work going.”
Rodgers was delighted with his side’s performance against Sunderland, who were booed off at the end of both halves following a flat display.
“It was an outstanding team performance today. I thought we had great control of the game, I suppose the only disappointment was that we never got more goals,” he said. “No matter how much domination you have of a game, when it’s 1-0 you’re always going to be asked to defend, and when they did that the players were outstanding.
“So a great victory for us and it just keeps our momentum going.”
Markovic put his side ahead with a clinical finish, but was denied what would have been a superb second when the underside of the crossbar kept out his acrobatic half-volley.
Jordan Henderson, who moved to Anfield from Sunderland in 2011, said of his team-mate: “He’s a fantastic player, got great potential and he’s wanting to learn all the time. He puts in hard work on the training field and I think you’ve seen that with the quality he’s got going forward.”
Sunderland were thoroughly outclassed in the opening half though the sending off of Liam Bridcutt after 49 minutes seemed to galvanise them. Adam Johnson struck the bar soon afterwards but it was to remain 1-0 to the visitors.
And Sunderland boss Gus Poyet said: “There was a bit of confusion in the first half. We were too worried with the shape of Liverpool and we didn’t know how to cope with that.
“At the second half we started better, we were at least going forward with some danger, and then the sending off. (But) incredibly in football when you fee like you’ve got nothing to lose you start playing a little bit better.”
While Poyet was not entirely happy with the dismissal of Bridcutt, who was dismissed after picking up his second booking, the Uruguayan added: “We didn’t lose because of that.”