Sunderland can’t stop Liverpool’s hunt for title

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

BRENDAN Rodgers played down the expectations that seven wins in a row can bring to any club - least of all a club so desperate to get its hands on another league title as Liverpool.

But there was no escaping the feeling around Anfield before, during and after the game against Sunderland, that Liverpool fans feel the title could be their destiny this season.

The Reds’ 6-3 victory over Cardiff City at the weekend had made them only the fourth team in Premier League history to score three goals in six consecutive games.

And although Sunderland restricted them to a mere two goals on the night, another victory continues the momentum, leaving them just one point behind league leaders Chelsea.

Before the match, the Liverpool team bus had made its way through hundreds of adoring fans lining the street and Rodgers said: “That’s where our game began - on the coach trip, on the way in, when we saw the fans lining the streets.

“It gave us a real boost of energy and that continued throughout the game.

“It gives us a great source of pride, because we are doing it for them.

“And hopefully we can now finish the season strongly for their sake. “

With such expectation - even with Liverpool’s form being so good, and Sunderland’s not - it did not prove to be the stroll in the park for the Reds that many had expected.

“It was a game which was difficult to kill off,” admitted Rodgers.

“When it got to 2-1, it got tight in the last 10 minutes but we showed great character.

“Sunderland really packed themselves defensively and made it difficult for us early on.

“It was always going to be a difficult game for us, especially that first-half when Sunderland were so hard to penetrate.

“When teams pack as deeply as that you’re going to struggle to score the three goals that tends to be expected of us now!

“But once we got the opening goal we were able to get our fluency going and we could have won comfortably.

”I thought Sunderland should have had a player sent off when they conceded the free-kick which led to the goal.

“Had that happened, it would have opened the game up much more for us but we didn’t get that decision.

“We still played very well though and got our second.

“But when we couldn’t kill it off and switched off at the back post to allow Sunderland a sniff, I was pleased that we didn’t panic.

“We continued to play like winners and the fans backed us.

“It always gets hairy when it is 2-1 late on and it means so much to you but we saw it out for a really important win.”

And that hunger, that desire, so pressing and palpable at Anfield for an unexpected title win - their first since 1990?

“We don’t feel the expectancy this year,” shrugged the Liverpool boss, who has insisted throughout the season that he is building for the future.

“I think people probably looked at us and thought we would tail off - I didn’t feel that way.

“But I think there’s more expectancy on Man City and Chelsea who have been dominant for a long time, as far as the title goes.”