Rodgers: "We Are Very Frustrated"

Alex Livesey

After yet another underwhelming and anti-climactic performance from Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, while trying to focus on the positive, could not disguise that he too, feels the same frustration as the fans.

As I traversed my small country from one coast to another on Sunday, lurching homewards after a two-day stag party, I was missing a Liverpool match for perhaps only the third time in four seasons. The good folk I follow on Twitter were kind enough to keep me informed moment-to-moment however, and through them I vicariously experienced the crushing frustration that comes with failing to achieve a result that should have been attainable against West Ham United.

Of course, there's nothing new in this dull, gnawing discomfort for us Liverpool fans. It's quite the established narrative, after all. Maybe it was being spared the first hand visualisation of this latest failure to grasp three points, maybe it was a kind of post traumatic stress from the eye-watering horror of seeing my best mate forced to parade around Galway in a man-kini, or maybe it was simply the cumulative effect of two days of flagrant alcohol abuse, but for some reason, I'm left feeling fairly phlegmatic after this one.

Ironically, after a season spent giving absurdly upbeat verdicts on the team's travails, whilst most of us listening were inwardly seething, Brendan Rodgers' post match tone after the Anfield stalemate was comparatively downbeat and reflected the frustration and realism that this season's struggles have ingrained upon the Northern Irishman.

"We are very frustrated. Obviously we didn't get the three points that I thought we were more than deserving of. We kept pushing from the very first minute. I thought the intent in our game was good, some of our quality arrived in good areas."

I'm not one hundred percent clear on what that last assertion meant, but it's safe to say that Rodgers felt Liverpool did enough to deserve the win, and when one considers the goal line clearance by Tomkins, the disallowed effort from Sturridge and the stone-wall penalty denied to Gerrard, it is easy to forgive some of the more irksome stuff from the manager about not having "that wee bit of luck."

It's just too easy, at this point, to simply lambast the manager for trying to focus on what is good. You may not want to hear it in the aftermath of yet more points coughed-up, but he can't be harangued for simply pointing out that some aspects of the play were decent and the decisions of the referee, yet again, went against his charges. However, when he starts to wax lyrical about the "good team performance," Rodgers veers back into the choppy seas of hyperbole. His assessment of Phillipe Coutinho was particularly glowing.

"The little guy has real magic in his boots - he's a wonderful technician. But I think everyone admires his humility and how hard he works for the team. He always wants the ball and is prepared to put his body on the line to work and fight."

Rodgers went on to praise Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher for how they "controlled" the questionable threat of Carlton Cole, his full backs for committing to the attack, his midfielders for having "good control of the game" and the strikers for creating chances. In this Rodgersian version of reality, the injustice of not winning is even more galling.

So, with only six games and eighteen points remaining to play for, the Reds are marooned below 50 points and can attain a maximum of 67, were they to register six wins in a row. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the ongoing growing-pains of this emergent side seem likely to mean that Europa League football will be a tremendous achievement at this point and, showing he is learning at least, the manager was careful not to raise too many expectations without fully succumbing to Hodgsonesque defeatism.

"The aim is still very much the same - finish the season strongly, with confidence, keep performing well and see where it takes us in the league, knowing it gives us a real good start point for the summer. Hopefully, then we can make a much better start than what we did this season."

Hopefully indeed Brendan. Hopefully indeed.

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