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Oct 3, 2013

Rodgers wants Anfield cauldron

Brendan Rodgers has stressed that Anfield must become a fortress if Liverpool are to maintain their challenge at the top of the Premier League.

Reds trio set for return

Rodgers’ side fell to only their second home defeat of 2013 when Southampton beat them 1-0 on September 21.

And while the Reds boss acknowledges that the loss against the Saints was a disappointment, he was pleased with the way his players bounced back in winning 3-1 at Sunderland last Sunday.

He said: “It was more of a disappointment than a setback against Southampton. We can’t really have an excuse. We didn’t play well.

“What we’ve shown is we’ve had enough over the last few months to get a win when we haven’t played well. But we just didn’t do enough against Southampton.

“But our reaction after that game has been very good. We played well in a couple of games and got a result in the last one.

“The atmosphere at Anfield this year has been brilliant for us. We have to make sure that our football, and the quality and intensity of our game, gets the crowd up again.

“When we do that, Anfield is a very difficult place for visiting teams to play. That’s something I’m very keen to do -- to make sure we have a good record at home -- because if we’re going to be a team challenging, that record at home has to be very, very good.”

The Reds welcome a Crystal Palace side to Anfield on Saturday who have won only one away league game in the last ten months.

Despite such poor away form, Palace managed to win promotion from the Championship in May via the play-offs, but have struggled this season, losing five of their six league games.

That run has left Palace 19th in the Premier League, while Liverpool are second, two points behind leaders Arsenal.

Rodgers, who won promotion from the Championship via the play-offs with Swansea in 2011, knows just how tough it is for a team to settle in the top flight after coming up.

And he was full of praise for the job done by Palace boss Ian Holloway -- who got his team into the top-flight through the play-offs three years after doing it with Blackpool.

Rodgers said: “Crystal Palace did brilliantly to get promoted. Ian’s an excellent manager. When he went to Blackpool, he did a great job in getting them promoted in a play-off.

“To go to Palace and get them promoted was a great, great achievement. He, like I, knows that when you come up from the Championship, it’s a very difficult ask. The step is massive.

“And when you get promoted late, it cuts down your time in terms of getting players in. He will always get the best out of the players he has. So we know it will be a really difficult game.”

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