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Season starts now for Everton

 By Mike Whalley

Rodgers shrugs off title pressure

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez says the rise of his team is unbelievable as they close in on their first title of the Premier League era.

LIVERPOOL -- Brendan Rodgers has responded to talk of Premier League title pressure on his Liverpool side by declaring: “I’ve never slept better.”

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The Reds lead the Premier League by five points with three matches to play as they prepare to host second-placed Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday.

A win would end Chelsea’s chances of winning this season’s title, leaving third-placed Manchester City, six points off the top with a game in hand, as the only team who could deny Liverpool.

Rodgers’ side are seeking to equal a club record by securing a 12th straight league victory this weekend.

But even as hopes grow among Liverpool’s fans of a first league title since 1990, the manager insists there is no pressure on him or his players.

He said: “People talk about pressure, but you see our players, they’re really enjoying their football.

“I’m enjoying being at the top of the league. It’s absolutely wonderful.

“You know, there’s no pressure with it. People say that you’re not enjoying it, you must not sleep at night. I haven’t slept better.”

Liverpool are favourites to win the title, having started the season as outsiders after finishing seventh last season.

Both Rodgers and principal owner John W Henry have declared that the club are a year ahead of schedule in launching a title bid this season.

And asked if it would be considered a failure if Liverpool failed to finish top now, the manager said: “No. No chance. I don’t think anyone can say there’s pressure. I think the pressure is if you’re Manchester City or Chelsea, and you’ve spent that money and you expect to win the league.

“That’s probably pressure. I don’t think there’s pressure on us, other than what we have from within.

“Look at Tottenham. If you spend more than 100 million pounds, you expect to be challenging for the league.

“We will do the best we can. We’ve been absolutely outstanding. We’ve a real confidence and belief in how we’re playing and working, and we’ll just continue with that.

“I believe if it doesn’t happen, it won’t be because of pressure. It might be that a bit of luck goes against us, or we might make a mistake, which can happen in football.

“But the players have shown continuously, both this season and over the second part of last season, that we’ve coped with pressure. That’s something we’ll continue to do. We’ll continue to play our game.”

Liverpool are fighting to succeed Manchester United as champions at the end of a turbulent season at Old Trafford.

United manager David Moyes was sacked on Tuesday, less than a year after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson, and with his team seventh in the table.

Rodgers suggested that Moyes was “opened up to ridicule” in the way the club handled his departure.

He said: “I’m obviously saddened that a man who has been an outstanding manager, and is an outstanding manager, lost his job in the circumstances that he lost his job.

“He’s a man who has graced management in this country for more than 15 years. He’s an honest guy who has worked tirelessly in his profession.

“How he was opened up to the ridicule that he was, I find that fascinating and sad.

“I know that when he comes back, he’ll be a better manager because of the experience.

“He’s an outstanding manager, David Moyes, and a good man as well.”


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