Rodgers reveals his biggest game

Published: Saturday 18th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers knows his reign will be judged on trophies but even if he reached the FA Cup final he claims it will not be the biggest game of his career.

The Reds face Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday looking to reach their first final since 2012, when they won the League Cup but lost the FA Cup to Chelsea.

However, Rodgers insists he has already managed in the biggest game of his career so anything else will not faze him.

“Swansea’s play-off final was the biggest game for me and always will be so it is not about pipping it – it would be exactly the same if we were to get to a Champions League final,” said Rodgers of his success with the south Wales club in 2011.

“I’d only been a manager a short time and I will always say it was my biggest game because it is a life-changing game.

“There are more prestigious games in football in terms of trophies but the play-off final, in terms of career and life and where it projects you to, is a big game.

“That game will always be the biggest game in my career but this game will be something different.

“We want to send the supporters home happy after arriving in another final.

“To win a trophy here with Liverpool is something very important.

“No matter what era you are in you will always be judged on trophies.

“We have made steps and we want to continue that by winning trophies.

“Hopefully, I’ll be judged on my time here – however long that is – on that we’ve worked well and a part of that will be having won trophies.”

Liverpool narrowly missed out on another League Cup final after losing to eventual winners Chelsea in a two-legged semi-final in January.

Rodgers hopes that experience will have helped his players as they look to book their return to Wembley on what will be captain Steven Gerrard’s birthday and what would be his final appearance for the club before he leaves for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer.

“The players performed very well under pressure over the two games, and I think we were very unfortunate not to make the final,” he added.

“What we have learned is that we want to play well and win. We have been fairly good at that but it will be about getting through. We want to concentrate on performance. ”

Rodgers will welcome back centre-back Martin Skrtel from a three-match suspension and the Slovakia international will slot straight back into defence, either as a restored three-man back line or the flat four he has employed in the last two games.

Tim Sherwood is ready to resolve Christian Benteke’s Aston Villa future – but only after taking the club to the FA Cup final.

The Villa manager will talk with the striker in the summer after his return to form but admits he cannot keep Benteke against his will.

Benteke is set to spearhead Villa at Wembley. He has scored nine goals in his last eight games for Villa and Belgium after being revitalised since Sherwood replaced Paul Lambert in February.

And Sherwood is keen to sit down with Benteke, with the 24-year-old contracted to Villa until 2017.

Sherwood said: “It’s certainly something that will have to be addressed.

“You don’t really want players going into the last 18 months of their contract. He’s someone for the long-term future of the club and you need to protect your interests.

“He’s focused at the moment just on playing football and that’s what I want him to be. I haven’t had any discussion.

“If he wanted to come and see me next week about his future, I wouldn’t want to talk to him to be honest. It would be: ‘Let’s leave it till the end of the season and see where we are and I’ll give you an honest appraisal of where I think we can be.’ They all can have that conversation, not just Christian.

“We don’t want to sell out best players. I also want players who want to play at the football club.

“He’s made no indication to me that he wants to play elsewhere. If he does then we will assess the situation but we want to keep him at the club. You can’t force any player, I’ve been one myself.

“You might as well take the money because you end up without the money or the player if you don’t take it.”

Published: Saturday 18th April 2015 by The News Editor

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