Brendan Rodgers says the expectancy is so great at Liverpool because of what he has achieved previously at Anfield – and he is relishing it.
Liverpool opened the season with back-to-back wins against Stoke City and Bournemouth but have since gone six league and cup games without tasting victory, increasing the pressure on Rodgers to deliver a positive result against Aston Villa at Anfield this weekend.
Rodgers acknowledges the importance in getting back to winning ways sooner rather than later but, at this early stage of the season, is aware of how quickly things can change, with Liverpool only two points behind Arsenal in fifth place.
“I know I need to get results. That is what we need to improve on,” Rodgers said in his press conference on Friday.
“The pressure is huge, but I embrace that challenge. I respect that we need to get results. I’m a much better manager than three years ago. One win and we’re back around the top four.”
Liverpool finished down in sixth last season, eight points off a Champions League place, but Rodgers led the Reds to their second highest ever Premier League points tally in 2013-14 when they finished second for only the third time since 1992.
Rodgers believes the success of that campaign has increased expectations of the current team, but he has urged supporters to stay patient as summer signings continue to bed in at Anfield.
“We’ve created that expectancy here because of how we’ve worked,” Rodgers said. “How do I block it out? I focus very much on the team.”
“I’d ask the fans to keep faith with the team. To stay with the team who are working tirelessly every day.”
Liverpool will be without Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren against Villa, with the latter sustaining an injury against Carlisle in midweek when the Reds needed penalties to make the last 16 of the Capital One Cup.
Rodgers, who revealed there is no timescale on a return for Benteke and said Firmino may have cracked something in his back, has played down his side’s struggle to break down their League Two opponents.
“No matter what league a team is from, when they defend like Carlisle did it can be very difficult to break down,” Rodgers added.
In the absence of Benteke, Rodgers is hoping Danny Ings can continue his recent form, adding: “I’ve been really happy with Danny Ings’s contribution.
“He’s a very positive guy. He analyses his game and how it can be better. He’s grabbed his opportunity. He wants to get goals. Over the next few years he’ll develop into a top-class striker.”