Liverpool-Chelsea Preview: Rodgers wants momentum for League Cup semi-final

The Reds play host for the first leg and have lost only one of their last 14 games in all competitions, with Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders their opponents

Brendan Rodgers has called on Liverpool to continue their recent resurgence in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea.

Rodgers found himself under increased scrutiny at Anfield following an indifferent start to the season but the Reds have now lost just one of their last 14 games in all competitions and are unbeaten in eight following their defeat at Manchester United in mid-December.

Immediately after that loss at Old Trafford, Liverpool team beat Bournemouth 3-1 in the League Cup quarter-finals to set up a last-four tie against Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders.

Rodgers was delighted after Saturday’s 2-0 win at Aston Villa but insists there is still room for improvement ahead of Chelsea’s visit to Anfield.

“There has been a lot of hard work. The players have got confidence now in the way of working and they have been performing very, very well,” he told reporters.

“There’s a lot of improvement left in this team and group but we’re building towards the future here at the club. We have been progressing very well.

“You will always be looking to improve, no matter how well you are doing. It’s the challenge when you work with young players; you saw the youthfulness in the team [on Saturday].

“We obviously had a bump in the road in the early part of the season but, in this period, the team is performing at a good level – defensively strong and playing some wonderful football. It’s pleasing but we have to keep improving.”

Rodgers will be under no illusions as to the scale of the task facing Liverpool, though, with Chelsea – who beat Derby County in the last round – looking imperious for much of the campaign.

Mourinho’s side have scored 51 goals in their 22 top-flight fixtures so far this season – 20 more than eighth-placed Liverpool – and hammered Swansea City 5-0 away on Saturday.

Chelsea also have fond recent memories of going to Anfield, having won 2-1 there in November just six months after all but ending Liverpool’s 2013-14 Premier League title dreams with a famous 2-0 victory.

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard is likely to be restored to the starting XI after missing Saturday’s win at Villa, with Glen Johnson and Adam Lallana also approaching full fitness. Mourinho, meanwhile, may opt to reinstate first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after his finger injury.

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