Brendan Rodgers is keen for his Liverpool players to remain grounded following their sensational 5-1 defeat of then Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday. Liverpool are back in action against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Wednesday and Rodgers explained that the headline-grabbing result at the weekend was simply part of a continual improvement he hopes to see among his squad.
"I watched the game again and then we analyzed the game again as a coaching staff on Monday,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “We took the positives from it and the areas where we can improve.
"That's the environment here -- it's a continual improvement both of senior and young players. Saturday was a wonderful performance but it's been business as normal since then."
And Rodgers continues to play down his team’s chances of winning the Premier League title, with Champions League qualification his clear objective following a seventh placed finish last season. Yet, Liverpool go into Wednesday’s match with a chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points and with both the Blues and fellow title challengers Manchester City still to come to Anfield, where Liverpool have been in fine form.
It has been away from home where Liverpool have struggled this campaign. Indeed, they have lost as many as they have won on the road. In theory, Wednesday promises to be the easiest of their trips this season, facing as they do the team propping up the Premier League table. Yet, Fulham come into the game on the back of one of their best results of the campaign, in coming away from Old Trafford with a well-earned draw against Manchester United.
Fulham largely succeeded in their game plan of defending deep against the champions and could even have been more than a goal to the good before United eventually hit back with two late goals. But substitute Darren Bent rescued a point with a dramatic equalizer and head coach Rene Meulensteen believes his team’s performance on Sunday bodes well for their chances of avoiding the drop.
“We need to make sure that we get enough energy, enough quality and commitment in there to make sure that we stay up,” he said, according to Fulham’s official website. “That’s what I think you saw, especially from a defending point of view, on Sunday.
“But, pleasingly to see, we could have been 2-0 up at half-time, and we still managed to score after we went 2-1 down. That showed good character, good resilience and quality at the right times.”
Meulensteen will again be unable to call upon the club’s big January signing Kostas Mitroglou, with the Dutchman confirming that the Greek Striker is still building up his fitness levels. Defender Fernando Amorebieta also remains on the sidelines.
For Liverpool, defenders Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson have returned to training, although Wednesday’s game may come too early for both. Mamadou Sakho, Lucas Leiva and Jose Enrique are all in line to return by the end of February.
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick off at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBC’s Premier League Extra Time, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.