Rodgers: It’s all about team ethic

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is confident his side can compete against the Premier League big guns without an out-and-out goalscorer.

The Reds have not had a striker who can consistently deliver in front of goal since they sold Fernando Torres to Chelsea in a record £50m deal in January 2011.

Missed chances were the main cause of the team’s eighth-placed finish last season as they failed to capitalise on the dominance they had over teams.

With Andy Carroll relegated to the bench – at best – in Rodgers’ new system, his two main attacking options up front are Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini, neither of whom are considered to be purely goalscorers.

Champions Manchester City, the visitors to Anfield on Sunday, have an embarrassment of riches on the forward line with the likes of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

Manchester United have new £24m signing Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, Arsenal have Olivier Giroud – France’s leading goalscorer last season – while Chelsea have Torres.

“It is no good having a goalscorer scoring 30 goals and no-one else scores — I’ve always been against that theory,” said the Reds boss.

“You are going to need upwards of 70-odd goals to be up around the Champions League places.

“For me it is a team ethic. Luis Suarez will score goals, Steven Gerrard can score goals, young Fabio Borini will score goals – but we also need goals from our centre-halves.

“If you can get your centre-halves scoring five goals that will always add and then you are looking at your full-backs doing a bit more.

“It is a team responsibility, not just one player. You bring in one striker who can score you goals, which is great, but it’s not good for the team if the rest don’t score.

“For us it is trying to have players in different areas who can cause a problem. But equally important is that you are not conceding goals.

“I think we have shown, apart from last week [in the 3-0 defeat at West Brom] when the game was broken and when we went down to 10 men, that we have a good mindset.”

Last season Liverpool hit the post or crossbar more than 30 times and missed seven of 11 penalties. Rodgers said that could not be allowed to happen again and he had drummed into his squad they had to be sharper.

“You can’t blame referees and crossbars, you have to be clinical, you have to be ruthless,” added the Northern Irishman.

“We will always create enough chances but even if we don’t, if there are only one or two chances as in big games it is tight as defences are harder to break down, when you do get those chances you have to put them away.

“It is something I have reinforced since I came in here: it really is about ruthless simplicity.”


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