Brendan Rodgers discusses top four objective, injuries and Arsenal

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Brendan Rodgers’ pre-Arsenal press conference took place at Melwood on Thursday afternoon, with The Reds’ boss discussing the match ahead, consistency, his aims for the season and injuries.

Video: Watch Brendan Rodgers’ pre-Chelsea Press Conference

Rodgers was asked where they need to strengthen to become title contenders:

“To become title contenders, we’ll need to strengthen the squad and overall quality.”

Is top four imperative this season?

“It’s certainly the objective. The position we’re in this season, we’re up there, we’re fighting. We’re still ambitious, we want to finish as high as we can, but top four is a key objective.”

On Arsenal?

Arsenal are leading the pack and we’re amongst the clubs chasing. The players and supporters have been outstanding, this is a big game.

“Sometimes I feel, the bigger the game, the better we’ve played. At the Emirates though, Arsenal were the better team.

“Every game is critical now before the end of the season. Every team will look to take points off their rivals.”

“If we win this weekend, we close the gap on the teams above us. So we need to make sure the performance is right.

“These types of games are an opportunity to make a statement of the progress we’ve made.”

On Luis Suarez’ performances against the top teams:

“Luis Suarez has made an impact in the big games and makes a great contribution, even if he hasn’t scored in them. It’s about the team.

Can Suarez and Sturridge beat the club record (Premier League) of 42 goals between them this season (currently on 37)?

“I think they can certainly beat that. People talk about Sturridge and Suarez, but it’s about the team. They’re not a partnership – they are simply both prolific goal scorers.

“We’re looking for others to chip in more too.”

On injuries:

“Glen Johnson is making a great recovery, hopefully back next week. Same with Agger. But Sakho is out for a bit longer.”

On the performance at The Emirates earlier in the season:

“You have to give credit to Arsenal when they beat us earlier this season, but since then we’ve been very good.”

On the West Brom draw and finding consistency:

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 2, 2014: Liverpool's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet looks dejected as his side draw 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion during the Premiership match at the Hawthorns. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

“Every game is a tough game and our point at West Brom wasn’t too bad. Disappointing not to win though.

“We make opponents get to the top of their game, so we’re confident going into every game. Now we expect to win every game.”

“When I came in, there wasn’t much confidence to consistently win. Now there is – and none more so than at Anfield.

“We’ll respect our opponents, and none more so than Arsenal, but we’ll expect to win and have the confidence to do so.

“I took the blame for the first-half against Villa. I went too aggressive, which gave us a problem.

“Against Villa, we did well to come back from two goals down. Against West Brom, we still looked like we could get a result.

“All you can do is come back into work after a poorer performance and work hard. This game is massive and could give us a big push.”

On Raheem Sterling:

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 5, 2014: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling in action against Oldham Athletic during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Raheem Sterling’s rise has been outstanding. He’s bright and has taken his chance this season.

“He’s very focussed on his football, he’s happy – which is important. In training he’s been unbelievable, technically he’s getting better, tactically – for a young boy – he’s got a good head on his game.”

On the opportunity for players to impress ahead of the World Cup:

“Players know now if they’re doing well for their club, they have the opportunity of being selected for their country.

“I tell the players, when they’re at Liverpool, concentrate on your club. When you’re with your country, concentrate on them.”

Liverpool v Arsenal kicks off at 12:45pm on Saturday.

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