Rodgers Takes the Blame for Hull Loss

Chris Brunskill

Following a tough loss to Hull City that he blames himself for, Brendan Rodgers is looking to bounce back quickly—and Philippe Coutinho should be ready to help with that on Wednesday evening against Norwich.

With the arrival of December and along with the falling temperatures, Liverpool have found themselves facing a busy month with seven league matches stuffed into the holiday season. To say that the first of those games, a visit to KC Stadium to face Hull City, went badly would be an understatement, but Wednesday offers the chance to rebound from Sunday's dismal outing, and Brendan Rodgers is looking to his Liverpool record for a little reassurance that that's exactly what will happen.

"In the time I've been here, we've never lost two games on the spin, and that's really down to the positivity of the players and how they can bounce back and recover after a defeat," said Rodgers at his press conference ahead of Wednesday's Norwich City match. "I always have to look at the bigger picture and, for me, the bigger picture is still very bright. We just need to get over the disappointment—which we will do. I'll always demand the best, that's why we're at a club like this. We're not here to be second or great losers, we're here to win.

"We've shown that we have the capacity to do that consistently now the only way you can respond is to put your head down, take whatever comes, and work tirelessly going forward to get the result. The expectancy here is to win every game, that's the reality of being a Liverpool player or manager. Over the course of this year, we've been very good. We've upgraded on a lot of parts of our performance that we wanted to do. We've got an exciting team. That wasn't the case yesterday. But over the course of this calendar year, we've been excellent."

Despite his hope for a positive response against Norwich and the praise for Liverpool's performance levels so far this season, Rodgers didn't shy away from being critical for what happened on Sunday against Hull. With the players mostly avoiding any strong criticism from the manager this time, though, Rodgers sought to put himself in line to bear the brunt of any complaints over a failure to live up to expectations on the weekend.

"When you perform how we did, we probably didn't deserve to get anything from it," he said. "But in the main, our form has been very good, so I can't criticise the players too much. If there was anyone to blame, blame me as the manager. Today we're just reflecting, recovering, and looking forward to our next two games. Over the course of the season, the players have been brilliant—we just had an off day yesterday. We made mistakes and the two own goals were unfortunate for us.

"We go into two home games now, that's what we're focusing on. If we get the points, starting with Norwich on Wednesday, then we're still well on course for where we want to go. At this moment in time, we sit fourth; if we win on Wednesday night, we could be second again. That's our idea—to retain that positivity in our mind and look to get a good performance, which is important for us."

Rodgers' hopes of bouncing back quickly, of returning to the good performances that have, for the most part, marked Liverpool's early season, will also have been boosted by news that Philippe Coutinho should be fit to start on Wednesday after only being able to come off the bench in a limited appearance against Hull.

"Philippe will be fine," confirmed Rodgers. "He's had no further reaction from the game yesterday. He's trained this morning, so all being well he'll be fit."

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