Rodgers: We're still in the race

Rodgers: We're still in the race
Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers believes his Liverpool side are firmly in the Barclays Premier League title mix despite successive defeats knocking the Reds from top of the table at Christmas to fifth at the turn of the year.

Liverpool followed the 2-1 loss at Manchester City by falling to defeat by the same scoreline at Chelsea yesterday, despite taking an early lead at Stamford Bridge.

Rodgers believes the accumulation of matches, with his thin squad depleted by injuries, contributed to the successive defeats which sees his side six points adrift of leaders Arsenal ahead of Wednesday’s match with Hull.

“I think it’s open,” Rodgers said.

“Christmas Day eating our turkey we were top of the league. A few days and games later we’re fifth. I think that’s the way it will go between now and the end of the season.

“I think it’s brilliant and it makes it really exciting.”

Rodgers could be active when the transfer window opens this week.

He added: “We’ve shown in the first 19 games this season that if we get players back, get some help in January with a few more players, we can be in the shake up here.

“Liverpool was never in the conversation for the last few years. At least now we’re being recognised in terms of what we’re trying to do and our work.

“Hopefully we can add to it and get some depth to the group, because that is something that really helps you in the second part of the season.”

Much of Liverpool’s success this term has been down to Luis Suarez, who returned from a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic in April to net 19 goals this season.

Suarez drew a blank for the second successive game at Chelsea, when Jose Mourinho accused him of diving when challenged by Samuel Eto’o.

Rodgers felt Eto’o was fortunate to still be on the pitch after catching Jordan Henderson with a poor challenge which led to Skrtel’s early goal.

“He (Eto’o) should’ve been sent off,” Rodgers said.

“I know we scored from it, but that was a wild challenge, where he’s raked down his knee and down his shin and didn’t even get a yellow card.

“Luis will always provoke a challenge from defenders, that’s why he’s world class.

“What he probably doesn’t expect is to provoke a challenge from someone who’s not involved in the contact.

“He’s running to challenge (Cesar) Azpilicueta and Eto’o is street wise, he’s cute, he blocks him. On another day you could give that as a penalty, because it’s obstruction in the area.

“Of course, he (Mourinho) will defend his player and I will defend mine.”

Liverpool are likely to be without defender Mamadou Sakho (hamstring) against Hull, while Joe Allen (groin) and Jordan Henderson carried injuries into the Chelsea contest.

Rodgers will speak to Sakho and Philippe Coutinho after the pair swapped shirts at half-time with Eto’o and Oscar, respectively.

Rodgers said: “I don’t like that.”

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