Sherwood questions Liverpool mentality


Sherwood questions Liverpool mentality

This has been quite the campaign for Brendan Rodgers’ side, with just one point separating them and leaders Chelsea as the season enters the home straight.

The Reds will look to maintain their charge with an eighth successive win tomorrow when they host Spurs, whose manager knows all about what it takes to win the Premier League.

Sherwood captained Blackburn to the 1995 title, when Kenny Dalglish’s side limped over the line after struggling to cope with the expectation — something he has warned could derail Liverpool.

“I think they have a real chance,” the Spurs boss said. “It all depends on how they can hold their nerve.

“Obviously Man City and Chelsea would have to be favourites because of the players they’ve got who have actually crossed that line and done it previously.

“But Liverpool have got from seventh last year and now they must be believing, with eight or nine games left, that they can actually win this Premier League title.”

Sherwood added: “The pressure is on Liverpool and you sensed it a little bit the other night, when Sunderland got back in the game.

“After winning so many titles in their time they’re very close, one point off the top.

“They’re absolutely flying, they’ve got a strike partnership who are the best the Premier League has seen for a very long time, and they’ve given themselves a real chance.

“Now they have to believe they’ve got something there that might fall through their grasp and might slip away.

“Believe me that’s a really bad feeling to have, because perhaps you don’t play with the freedom that you normally played with earlier on in the season.”

As well as preparing for the daunting prospect of stopping Liverpool, Sherwood again had to field questions about his future in the pre-match press conference.

It was announced yesterday that Guus Hiddink will take the post as Netherlands manager after this summer’s World Cup, replacing Louis van Gaal.

The outgoing boss has made no secret of his desire to come to the Premier League and is bookmakers’ favourite to become Tottenham’s next manager.

“The pressure is always there for a manager of Tottenham just to continue to do well and win games,” Sherwood said when asked about the latest development.

“You know, there is obviously going to be a lot of managers that would wish to take this job. I am the man in control at the moment and it is up to them to come and get it.

“There is no guarantee — anyone could be the best manager elsewhere, whatever country he comes from, and there is no guarantee he can ever do it at Tottenham.

“If the glove doesn’t fit, sometimes it doesn’t work.”

Sherwood’s more immediate focus is a Liverpool side inspired by Steven Gerrard’s stunning form.

The 33-year-old’s superb free-kick broke the deadlock in the 2-1 victory against a resolute Sunderland side in midweek to put him within one goal of club icon Kenny Dalglish’s tally of 172.

To get close to such a number is testament to the England skipper’s quality and longevity and after nine goals in his last 13 matches, including four in his last four, he is enjoying his best Premier League goalscoring season since 2008-09 (when he scored 16 goals) with 11 playing in a midfield holding role.

“It is incredible really,” said Rodgers of Gerrard moving close to equalling Dalglish. “Moving him back into that controlling position has not stopped his goal threat and he can dictate the game from behind.

“For most of his career he has played as an attacking player and been one of the world-class players so to get to those numbers and to maybe equal someone of Kenny’s quality and status just shows you the true quality the guy has.

“He has a few more years left to go yet to hopefully score more goals.”

While Gerrard’s influence to Liverpool cannot be underestimated he has a number of players around him now which means he is not the sole source of inspiration and game-changer.

Prior to Wednesday’s match Sunderland manager Gus Poyet suggested Liverpool would be a mid-table team — instead of second — without the 28 League goals of Luis Suarez.

“That is probably quite disrespectful to the other players,” added the Reds boss.

“In my time here we’ve had Luis out and won games, we’ve had Steven, (Philippe) Coutinho, (Daniel) Sturridge out and won games.

“When Luis was playing the team finished eighth and seventh (in the previous two seasons) so it is not just about one player, it is about creating a collective spirit and quality to our game and that is what we have done.”

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