Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Monday February 24 2014
Despite some notable defensive deficiencies, Kop boss Brendan Rodgers has described Sunday's 4-3 victory over Swansea City as 'excellent'...
Liverpool again put on an entertaining show in front of their own fans this past weekend, scoring four or more goals at Anfield for an eighth time this season.
For once they were made to scrap for it though as a determined Swansea City refused to lie down and twice levelled the score.
Even at 2-0 down, courtesy of goals from Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson, the Swans kept attacking and they scored twice in four minutes via Jonjo Shelvey and Wilfried Bony to make it 2-2.
Despite Sturridge restoring the lead before half-time, the Welsh outfit were again level within two minutes of the restart when Bony converted a contentious penalty.
Both sides had several chances to win it but, to the relief of the Anfield faithful, it was Henderson who scored his second of the game in the 74th minute to make it 4-3 and ultimately edge a seven goal thriller.
Attempting to analyse a crazy afternoon against his former side, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told his post-match press conference: "It was an excellent three points for us.
"Yet again the offensive side of our game was very good to get four goals. We didn't defend anywhere near well enough today in aspects of our game. But to come out of it with the three points, we're very pleased. It was a very good win against an outstanding team.
"We have probably been spoiled here at Anfield, to be honest. People will walk away and think: 'We're normally winning by three or four at half-time' - the game is over and everyone is sat comfortably and enjoying it.
"Today we had to fight. Swansea drew in the week and should have beaten Napoli with an outstanding performance. They have come here and demonstrated that they are a good side.
"This was a much more difficult game than it would have been three weeks ago, because of what Garry Monk [Swansea manager] has done with the team. He's made them aggressive, got them fighting, he's got them pressing, working and passing it the way they can play - it's crisper and sharper.
"He has organised them really well. The game was going to be a really difficult game for us. We take great pride in the character today, the quality of our goals and that determination to get the job done. It's a wonderful sequence that we've had here and we aim to keep that going."
The result means Liverpool remain undefeated in 2014 and with Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal all winning it was imperative Rodgers' men followed suit.
The deficit to the Premier League summit may remain at four points but defeats for both Tottenham Hotspur and Everton at least extends the gap over fifth to six points.
"Today, we weren't quite at our best but we scored four goals and won the game," continued Rodgers. "That was a very important three points for us. I would take a 1-0, don't get me wrong, a clean sheet and a 1-0 absolutely.
"We had spells sporadically where we had the ball and good combinations. I thought we were better when Joe Allen came on; I thought Joe was outstanding. I felt we needed to get hold of the ball and press it better, but we can't be perfect.
"In the big games, we've been at our best. They've brought the best out of us - Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton. It was one of those games where there was maybe a little bit of pressure.
"Everyone wins the day before, even though you try to take that pressure off, mentally and psychologically there's maybe that feeling that you know you've got to win."
The four goals scored takes the Reds to a phenomenal 70 in the league this season; more than any other top flight club.
At the other end however there remains plenty of cause for concern with only Newcastle United having conceded more goals in the top 11 than Liverpool's tally of 35.
On the subject, Rodgers commented: "I'm not overly happy with our defending today, to be honest. It's not coaching; some of the things that we have conceded goals in, you can't coach that.
"There's a feeling when you're in the game of how to defend. You have to use that experience to be able to defend properly. I've always said that since I've been here. Today we had moments in the game that we weren't so good at.
"I'll focus on the other side - our character to keep going. We were 2-0 up. We got pulled back to 2-2. But we kept going. I thought two of the goals were probably soft.
"The free-kick was never a free-kick and the penalty was never a penalty. Both players went into the box and Wilfried Bony is a big strong guy. He played very well, but he goes over in the box and it's not a penalty. So it's gone against us on that occasion.
"The highlight for us today was probably our aggression going forward. We scored four and maybe could have had a few more.
"Again, we'll analyse the other side of our game and look to improve it. I think it's not something that is planned. You see how we press the game and how aggressive we are in trying to get the ball back.
"But we conceded poor goals. It isn't so much structurally. It's just mistakes or decision-making that costs us. There's absolutely no doubt we'll continue to work on that side of it.
"The balance in our training is very much equal in relation to our pressing, our defensive mentality and also our offensive side. Today our offensive side was very, very good. It's got us the points."
Liverpool are next in action on Saturday when they face a difficult-looking trip to Southampton. The Saints are the only side to win at Anfield this season and it is likely to prove another tough encounter.
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Date:Monday February 24 2014
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