Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is happy to take the blame to keep the heat off his players after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Hull.
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Rodgers accepts that he and his squad are under the microscope after a poor performance at the KC Stadium sent them to a second Premier League defeat of the season.
And although the manager believes his players can respond with home wins against Norwich on Wednesday and West Ham on Saturday, he is keen to sort out their away form.
The manager suggested immediately after Sunday’s defeat that his squad lacked the depth to cope without striker Daniel Sturridge, who could be out for eight weeks with an ankle injury sustained in training on Friday.
Rodgers was less willing to express those concerns at a press conference on Monday, instead suggesting the Hull defeat was a minor setback -- while still acknowledging that Liverpool need to play better away from home.
He said: “We’d been doing so well this season. It was the performance that disappointed us, because to play how we did, we probably didn’t deserve to get anything.
“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.”
Asked to expand on that point, he then told journalists: “You guys will always look to blame someone, and ultimately, it’s down to the manager. That’s the bottom line.
“But over the course of the season, the players have been brilliant. We just had an off-day yesterday.”
Liverpool’s home league record this season is as good as that of leaders Arsenal, with five wins and a defeat from six games -- conceding just three goals in the process.
Yet on their travels, Rodgers’ side have picked up nine points from seven games, the same tally as Swansea in 13th, while letting in 13 goals.
Liverpool go into Wednesday’s game against Norwich in fourth place, and with every chance of improving that position with a win. But staying in the top four into the New Year will be tough, giving that their final three away games of 2013 are at Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Rodgers said: “The expectation here is to win every game. That’s the reality of being a Liverpool player or a manager. But I think things have to be put into context. Over the course of this year, we’ve been very, very good.
“We’ve upgraded a lot of parts of our performance, as we wanted to do. We look an exciting team, although that wasn’t the case yesterday. But over the course of this calendar year, we’ve been excellent.
“This season at home, we’ve only conceded three goals, one of them being a penalty, but we’ve probably made mistakes too often away from home. That’s what cost us yesterday.
“In other games, we’ve managed to muster up points when we haven’t played so well, but yesterday. We just couldn’t do that. I always have to look at the bigger picture. And for me, the bigger picture is still very bright. We just have to get over the disappointment, which will do. In my time here, we’ve never lost two [league] games on the spin, and that’s really down to the positivity of the players and how we can bounce back after a defeat.”