Rodgers demands extra motivation

  • Last Updated: January 24 2014, 13:42 GMT

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his players will need to be more motivated against Bournemouth in the FA Cup than they would be against their Premier League top-four rivals.

Brendan Rodgers: Not taking opposition for granted
Brendan Rodgers: Not taking opposition for granted

Having been below their best in the previous round at home to Sky Bet League One Oldham - who knocked them out at this stage last year - the trip to the Goldsands Stadium will be more of a test.

Rodgers admitted he picked the wrong team for last weekend's 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, when his side had to come from two goals down after being overrun in midfield, and he acknowledges they will have to do the "dirty stuff" well against the Championship side to progress.

"Whatever your motivation is for games against Manchester United or Chelsea, I think you have to go five times more in a game like this because they're such tough games," he said.

"The players are under no illusions that for us to get through we have to be mentally prepared to up the tempo.

"Last year I didn't underestimate Oldham or any opponent we just had to make the changes (to the team) and we suffered for it.

"When you're Liverpool and you're playing well I think you're always going to be a scalp as players at that level want to show they can play against you at your level.

"We saw that in our last game against Oldham, who may be in League One, but have some good players who kept the game in the balance all the way through.

"But it's for us to ensure that our mentality is right and that we're willing to do the dirty stuff and the ugly bits in the game and then you look for your quality to come through."

It will be difficult for Rodgers to get his team selection wrong as injuries and illness meant he was working with only 15 players this week.

That means he will have to call on some youngsters who have been around the fringes of the first team squad - the likes of Jordon Ibe, Brad Smith and Jordan Rossiter - to boost his numbers.

And while an away tie against underdogs may be a test for such inexperienced players Rodgers is confident they will be stand up to the challenge.

"You will never know until you put young players in but it is certainly one where we will have a lot of our experienced players about," added the Reds boss.

"It can be a good time to put them in as long as they are surrounded by other senior players.

"We are trying to maintain the effort in our work and it could be an opportunity for our young talented players to show."

There will be a change in goal as Brad Jones resumes cup duties in place of first-choice Simon Mignolet, who has had a shaky few weeks.

Defensively Liverpool have been exposed recently after conceding five in their last two matches but Rodgers puts much of that down to the continuing injuries - Glen Johnson the latest to be sidelined - which have prevented him fielding a settled back four.

"It's certainly been nothing systematic," he said.

"We've made individual errors this season and I think part of that has been about the balance of the back four, which has been difficult because we've had so much change.

"But the players have still done very well. We had a meeting about heading into the next number of games having that stability in the team, which is important.

"As much as we want to be offensive, it's very important to have that tactical discipline and as I've said, we've got players here who have a strong mentality.

"It is ensuring as well as scoring goals, we want to be defensively sound."


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