Manchester United next up for in-form Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers targets Manchester City

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted fourth place is not the height of his side's ambitions this season after they set up a perfectly-poised showdown with Manchester United on Sunday.

Jordan Henderson, right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring the only goal during Liverpool's victory over Swansea. Rebecca Naden / Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said fourth place in the Premier League is not the height of his side’s ambitions this season after they set up a showdown with Manchester United on Sunday.

Jordan Henderson’s fortuitous goal earned Liverpool a 1-0 win at Swansea on Monday as they moved within two points of Louis van Gaal’s fourth-place team.

Liverpool can leapfrog their bitter rivals should they defeat them at Anfield this weekend. Having made it five successive top-flight victories, they certainly have momentum.

They are also four points behind second-place Manchester City, who suffered a shock loss against Burnley at the weekend.

“We are looking to finish as high as we can,” Rodgers said. “Everyone talks about fourth but it’s the same every year for me.

“We do the best that we can do and the Manchester City result at the weekend gives us an opportunity to finish second.

“So our mentality, the run and confidence we have at the moment, we are just going to take that into every game and see where it takes us.”

Rodgers’s side have not lost in the league since being defeated at Old Trafford in December. The manager has pinpointed that game as the turning point in their campaign.

“It is a different team with a different mentality now. We were struggling to find the solutions then,” he said.

“There were lots of new players and we were nowhere near as consistent then. That was definitely the turning point for us because we saw enough in the game that day to show we were good enough to get the results, going forward.”

Midfielder Henderson scored for a third successive Premier League game, yet there was more than a stroke of luck about his second-half winner after Swansea defender Jordi Amat’s attempted clearance ricocheted off the shin of the onrushing Liverpool midfielder and looped over goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

“From the outside looking in it might have been deemed pressure but we can only control ourselves and know we have the capacity to win games,” Rodgers said.

“Our away record over the last two years is really, really strong and you see the resilience in the team and when we’re not playing that well we still have that organisation and resolve to keep a clean sheet.

“The second half we were much more fluid in our passing and movement and played the most part of the game in their half and didn’t have too many scares in the second half.

“It’s a great, great victory for us — it is a difficult place for us to come and we are very happy.”

The result was harsh on a Swansea side who had already defeated Arsenal and United at home this season, yet they were left to rue a failure to take chances.

“It was an opportunity missed in the first half,” Swansea manager Garry Monk said.

“We should have scored a goal, at least,” he said, adding that good sides are likely to punish a failure to get a goal.

“It was a lucky deflected goal. If it had been a well-worked one it would be easier to take. I’m disappointed for the players, I felt they deserved to take something out of it.”

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE