Liverpool not thinking about title
LIVERPOOL -- Brendan Rodgers is playing down talk of Liverpool's first title since 1990 by insisting: "We haven't achieved anything yet."
Rodgers' side have propelled themselves into the Premier League title race after taking 26 points from a possible 30 since the start of 2014.That 10-match unbeaten league run has guided the Reds into second place, four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand.
Jose Mourinho's side still have to visit Anfield, as do fellow title contenders Manchester City, giving Liverpool every chance to close the gap at the top.
Rodgers, though, told a news conference on Thursday that his only focus is on Saturday's trip to second-from-bottom Cardiff.
He said: "For me, it's always been about the next game. That may sound boring, but it's the reality of where we're at. There's no point us worrying about playing Sunderland next Wednesday when we've got a massive game on Saturday at 3 p.m."
Rodgers' words could be construed as an attempt to take some of the pressure off his players following last Sunday's emphatic 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Indeed, his suggestion that he only ever takes one game at a time contradicts comments he made in early December, when he suggested that he set his players targets over blocks of five matches.
What is indisputable, though, is that Liverpool still have plenty of work to do if they are to stay in the title race.
Rodgers said: "I think it's great for the supporters to dream, and I think they've got great pride in what they're seeing. They're seeing a group of players who are representing the shirt very well, and they're playing at an outstanding level.
"But for me, as a manager and a leader of the team, it's very simple. We haven't done anything yet. We've had a very good season, we're second in the league and our level of play is improving all the time. But we haven't done anything."
Liverpool have had three brief spells on top of the Premier League this season; one in early September after winning their first three games, another in early October and then a third over Christmas, which ended with back-to-back defeats at Manchester City and Chelsea that briefly dropped them down to fifth.
"We had a wonderful result and performance at Old Trafford last weekend, but there hasn't even been talk about any title," Rodgers said. "We're just enjoying how we're playing and working."
A key performer for Liverpool in recent weeks has been midfielder Joe Allen, who is beginning to establish himself as a regular after an injury-hit first 18 months at the club.
Allen, a 15 million pounds signing from Swansea in August 2012, struggled with a shoulder problem for most of last season, and finally underwent surgery in March last year.
Having returned to action in pre-season, the 24-year-old then pulled a hamstring against Notts County in the Capital One Cup in August and did not play again for nearly two months.
But he was a key figure in last Sunday's win at Manchester United, and Rodgers believes that the Wales international is starting to prove himself.
The manager said: "Joe was outstanding at Old Trafford. I believe he's one of the top Premier League talents. He such a courageous player. At Old Trafford, he covered more ground than anyone. He presses the ball, looks after the ball. In this country sometimes, that can be frowned upon.
"I think people look for midfield players who are scoring goals or smashing into challenges. Joe's a really intelligent footballer who understands the ball and protects it really well for the team. His work rate and intensity are incredible.
"He's going to prove to be an outstanding player here, and at the moment, he's nearly at the top of his game, performing very well and I hope that will continue at the weekend."