Rodgers demands Reds response
3:18pm Monday 28th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his players will take their setback against Chelsea on the chin as they focus on keeping their Premier League title chances alive.
The 2-0 defeat at Anfield took the destiny of a first championship in 24 years out of their hands with Manchester City, three points behind with a superior goal difference and a match in hand, now the favourites.
By the time the Reds play Crystal Palace on Monday evening they could be third in the table and will be relying on near-neighbours Everton to do them a huge favour by taking points off Manuel Pellegrini's side at Goodison Park on Saturday.
There was a tangible atmosphere of deflation around Anfield, which had been a cauldron of noise just 90 minutes previously as it had in many other home games in the last few weeks, but Rodgers will not allow that to permeate into a squad which had won 11 successive league matches prior to Sunday.
"I think we have been on a run of games in which the games we have won has been exceptional and to lose against Chelsea is a big disappointment because we haven't had many games we have lost," said the Reds boss.
"This is a great group of players and we will take this on the chin and will continue to work on. We'll recover and go again and hopefully we'll get the win against Crystal Palace.
"Our objective is for ourselves. We need to win our two games and see where it takes us and we will be fine."
Rodgers has always argued that making the leap from seventh to first was unprecedented and that his side had exceeded expectations this season.
That they are still leading Chelsea and City, who have spent considerably more, is an achievement in itself and the Reds boss believes there are plenty of positives to be achieved from taking six points from their remaining two fixtures.
"We are two points above Chelsea, which is phenomenal when you see the squad they have, and if we win our last two games we will finish above them," added Rodgers.
"If we can finish off the season and win these two games we'll finish above them and maybe above Manchester City - but there's still a way to go."
Chelsea's stifling defensive tactics at Anfield have generated much debate and while they obviously had merit as Jose Mourinho's side came out on top, for Rodgers - a man of purist footballing principles - it stuck in the throat somewhat.
"We have a way of working and I take great pride in that," he said.
"We might not have got the result but we've seen over the course of the season that we have made great strides and we'll continue to do that.
"When you win the game of course you will say you are the better team but certainly we were the better team because we were the ones wanting to win the game.
"I don't think there is any disputing that, but it is hard to reinforce that when you lose.
"What the game will do is prepare us for Crystal Palace. We will have to deal with long balls forward, which we did well.
"We will have to deal with long throw-ins, so we got the chance to do that.
"They will have lots of players behind the ball, which we will be prepared for as well."
Off the field the £260million scheme for the regeneration of the Anfield area - including the rebuilding of two new stands at the club's ground - took another step forward after the Strategic Regeneration Framework was agreed by Liverpool City Council after public consultation closed.