Monday 12 May 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side will bounce back stronger next season after they just missed out on the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League title.
The Reds came from behind to defeat Newcastle United 2-1 at Anfield on the final day to leave the club with their second-highest points tally in Barclays Premier League history. It was not enough to overhaul Manchester City, however, who recorded a decisive three points in defeating West Ham United to claim their second League title in three years.
The Reds, though, ended up in second place and two points behind City to mark an impressive improvement from 2012/13 when they finished in seventh, 28 points behind champions Manchester United.
"It has been an incredible campaign, 38 really competitive and tough games in the most competitive league in football"
"It has been a wonderful campaign with a lot of growth and development," Rodgers said. "It has been incredible to see the supporters, to see the power of the club, the institution that is Liverpool. And we've made them dream, that's our job.
"The great thing about us is that we will improve, we will get better next season. We're a young group, we'll add more players and we'll be ready to fight again, now we've got the belief."
Rodgers’ side caught the eye this season with their entertaining football, scoring 101 goals and having the Barclays Premier League’s top two scorers in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who got 31 and 20 goals respectively. Although they just came up short, Rodgers expressed his pride in how his players have performed this season.
“First and foremost, congratulations to Manchester City," Rodgers said. "It has been an incredible campaign, 38 really competitive and tough games in the most competitive league in football. And they are the champions, so congratulations to them. My overriding feeling at the moment is one of sheer pride in the players. To finish the season winning 12 games out of 14 - we drew one and lost one - the players have shown an incredible level of consistency and quality in that period.
"Over the course of the season, to finish second behind Manchester City, we'd prefer to finish top, but it is a great marker of the progress we've made this season."
Rodgers also revealed that the squad were inspired this season by a letter he received from a Liverpool fan last summer.
"We now believe we can be up here challenging"
"I read a letter to the players on the first day of the season from a supporter called Ben," said Rodgers. "He talked about us getting into the top four and the pride he has in the club, and it said not to just think about fourth but to think about winning.
"Probably at the time the players and maybe the staff, we all thought the letter was a bit far-fetched. But I truly believed we could progress, and I read the same letter back again today and all the words that went back into the players' minds today were the same at the beginning of the season. The word now is belief. We now believe we can be up here challenging, and all the young players will be much better for that."
Liverpool were in danger of ending the campaign on a low note against Newcastle United as a Martin Skrtel own goal put the Magpies ahead with 20 minutes gone. But two goals in two second-half minutes from Daniel Agger and Daniel Sturridge sealed Liverpool’s 26th victory of the campaign.
"At half-time I said to the players, 'Listen, we can't finish the season like this'," Rodgers said. "Because it has been a remarkable campaign for us and it would be sad for us and the supporters if we just went out with a whimper. The players showed real character to pick themselves up again."
For more on Sunday's Barclays Premier League action go to the Carlsberg Live Match Centre at live.premierleague.com. The Carlsberg Live Match Centre brings you match facts and stats, manager press conference videos, action images, as well as the latest Fantasy Premier League points for your team.
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Manchester City 2-0 West Ham | #MCIWHU | More on Live Match Centre >>
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