Speaking to us directly after the game during his post-match press conference, Rodgers blamed poor ‘game management’ by his players, for the reason why Liverpool didn’t seal early qualification in the Europa League at Anfield.
“It was very frustrating. Obviously we were leading twice in the game, and we missed a hatful of chances as well. So to concede the goal like we did at the end was very disappointing.”
Liverpool looked to have done enough during the game, twice taking the lead, but once again the home team was profligate in attack; something which you sensed Young Boys – who looked sharp when breaking forward – would take advantage of.
And so it proved in the 88th minute with both Suarez and Assaidi failing to make the most of an attack, the Swiss side broke swiftly – and virtually unchallenged – before queuing-up to strike their second equaliser of the night, ensuring qualification for the last 32 knock-out stages now goes down to the wire.
“We’re disappointed. To get 2-1 up with three or four minutes to go, you’ve got to control the game. You’ve got to have better game management. That was the real disappointment.
“It’s about management of the game. You don’t need to commit so many bodies forward so late in the game. That’s something we can improve upon.”
Speaking in the mixed-zone afterwards the manager’s sentiments were echoed by both Reds goalscorers, Joe Cole and Jonjo Shelvey. Cole, who scored one and assisted the other, stated:
“We could have managed the game better. We need to learn from these experiences so that if we’re in that situation again that collectively we do better.
“We’re still confident that we can qualify. We need to go to Udinese and try to win the game. It will be tough over there but I’d imagine that we will go there with a strong squad. Liverpool Football Club need to be playing European football after Christmas.”
To qualify, Liverpool now need to avoid defeat to Udinese, whilst matching the Young Boys result. On a personal level, the club’s no.10 was pleased with his overall performance – one of his better ones in a Red shirt:
“It’s been a long time since I got one in front of the Kop. It was an enjoyable game to play in but we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the result to put us through.
“It was my third game back from injury and I’ve felt stronger in every game I’ve played. I just need to keep going and keep plugging away. I’ve been a good player at West Ham, Chelsea, Lille and England when I’ve played. I’m sure if I play football here I’ll be a good player for Liverpool.
“I came off because my hamstring was a bit tight. That’s the longest I’ve played in that position and I got through a lot of running. But I’m okay and I’ll be available for Sunday.”
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