Writer: Gavin John Day
Date:Tuesday October 22 2013
After a difficult start to life at Anfield, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has declared himself pleased with the club's progress during his time in charge...
Despite dropping two points on a frustrating afternoon in the North East on Saturday, there is an improved sense of optimism around the red half of Merseyside currently.
In previous campaigns an away draw would have been seen as a relatively successful day's work but not anymore with Brendan Rodgers already acknowledging he's not only looking to win every game but to do so with style and panache.
"I am not the type of coach that is happy just to win games," admitted the 40-year-old Northern Irishman recently.
After two seasons of lowly league finishes - 8th and 7th - the Reds appear to be making progress on that front with a number of impressive early season performances culminating in maximum points.
A period at the top of the table may have given way to their current position of third but five wins in eight Premier League games played, and just one defeat, suggests there is little doubt the club is firmly heading in the right direction.
"It was a massive job, coming in here. The opening five or six months were difficult," reflected Rodgers in quotes published by Liverpoolfc.com yesterday.
"But since January, I think in terms of points gained, we are in the top three in the country. Hopefully that is an indication that we're doing well and that the club is in order.
"I still think there's a hell of a lot of improvement for us to make, but in the main we're a tight unit, and we just need to keep moving forward.
"We're here to compete. Liverpool is one of the great institutions of the game. We're never happy when we don't win, but you have to have a sense of perspective as well."
Rodgers is understandably reluctant to discuss a possible title challenge or put a time frame on future success at this stage but he firmly believes the club is on track in developing the mindset and environment required to achieve such lofty ambitions.
"To challenge, we need to rely on our coaching, and on bringing players in who are hungry. That's key," continued the former Swansea City boss.
"You need players that are hungry to succeed, players that are at an age where they're not just happy to be a Liverpool player, they want to win as well.
"There will come a time when we start looking at when we can challenge, but we can't get carried away. The club finished eighth the year before I came in, and we finished seventh last year.
"We have stabilised the mentality, there's a strong culture at the club now, and I think the supporters can see the direction we're going in."
The next couple of months will be a pivotal test of the club's short-term prospects with trips to Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Chelsea, all to be undertaken before the year is out.
With no European football and the side already out of the League Cup, they have nothing else to occupy their thoughts until the FA Cup gets underway in January.
It will be interesting to see where Liverpool sit in the table at that point in time.
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Date:Tuesday October 22 2013
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