Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has called on his team to be more consistent in the future if they want to become a force to be reckoned with.
The Merseyside club have won two and lost two out of their last four league fixtures, which have included hammering Fulham 4-0 at home and an impressive 3-2 victory away at West Ham, but also a deeply disappointing 3-1 loss at Anfield to a struggling Aston Villa side before the Boxing Day defeat to Stoke.
Despite taking the lead early on against Tony Pulis’ in-form side, the visitors were outplayed for the most part before losing 3-1 and Rodgers remains frustrated at Liverpool’s slow rate of progress this term.
“I said during the week and last week that [consistency] will be the biggest thing for the group,” Rodgers told reporters.
“We were terrific at the weekend [against Fulham] but you have got to be able to put a run of games together – if not you just keep taking two or three steps forward and making one or two back and then going again.
“That’s been the nature of the group over the last couple of years in terms of where we have finished. We’re looking to improve that. There is still an awful lot of work to do.
“You have to earn the right to play in whatever game – and in particular when you come to here. You know you are going to get pressed.
“I have no doubt about the characters we have – we have some big characters and big players, but tonight it was just too easy for them.”
Rodgers also revealed after the game that star striker Luis Suarez has been nursing an ankle injury of late, which was exacerbated by a collision with Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the second half. However, the 39-year-old boss has tipped him to recover in time for their next game against QPR on Sunday.
He added: “He’s been playing with a swollen ankle for the last few weeks. We’ll wait until the morning to see how he is but he is a warrior and he should be fine for the weekend.
“I think he was unfortunate to pick up a booking [in that challenge]. He’s not even looked at the ‘keeper – he’s trying to swivel on the ball. I thought it was a bit unfair he picked up a booking for that.”