The Reds boss is confident in his squad’s abilities as the title race gears towards a gripping conclusion, but has urged focus on their remaining games
Brendan Rodgers has urged his Liverpool squad to show courage as the Premier League leaders look to win a first top-flight title since 1990.
A run of eight consecutive victories has seen the Merseyside outfit climb to the top of the table, knowing a maximum points return from their final six games will see them win the title.
Rodgers is confident in his players’ abilities, insisting they now “play without fear”, but realises the pressure of winning a first-ever Premier League crown requires focus on the present and not the future.
“If you ask players to play as we do, you have to give them the confidence. That is what you want – the courage to play,” Rodgers told reporters.
“We work to deal with pressure, to get on the ball. The players know 100 per cent that if they make a mistake, I will take the blame.
“I have said all along I feel that when there are pressure situations, the players can cope … they can operate at this level without any fear. You see the confidence, there is no anxiety, no pressure.
“It is very difficult – lots of people are dreaming about Liverpoool winning the title, but for me it is installing in the players that there’s a process. It’s not just about the end result.
“It’s been about simple hard work, focus and concentration. There are only 18 points to play for, but you can only take three at a time. Upton Park will be a tough game for us but our confidence and belief is at a good level.”
Rodgers maintains his Liverpool side are a work in progress, though, and says failure to finish first this season will not be a huge disappointment as he is building a squad to compete “for years to come”.
He continued: “I feel a huge privilege to be here and be given the freedom to work. We are trying to make something that is sustainable here.
“It is fantastic that the supporters now have hope. It is why I worked hard in my life, and since I was a young boy, travelling around Europe to find out about some of the top teams. This is why I became a manager.
“We have been allowed to develop at our own pace. We have never got carried away when we have won or too disappointed when we have lost, but we are building something for years to come.”