Football

Rodgers: Reds must show up

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers accepts his side cannot afford not to turn up in another big game if their top-four ambitions are to survive.

Before the international break, the Reds' 13-match unbeaten league run was ended at home to Champions League-chasing rivals Manchester United, leaving them five points adrift of the qualification places.

Defeat by third-placed Arsenal tonight would be a huge blow to their aspirations of returning to Europe's elite for a second successive season.

Rodgers knows they must avoid a repeat of the disappointing first-half display against United which led to their defeat.

"We've made it difficult for ourselves because of our last performance and result, but it's certainly achievable," he said of their top-four chances.

"Over the course of the last three months, apart from the last game, we've performed very well and we have got results.

"I think people might look at it (the trip to Arsenal) as a must-win game. For me, it is a must-perform game.

"We want to perform well and we know that when we do that we've got every chance of winning, whether that's at home or away.

"We've had a long two weeks, it's probably one of the few games where after the international break we've had to suffer a little bit, because we didn't perform and lost, but there is extra motivation there to get something from the game and that is something that we clearly want to achieve.

"These final eight games are going to be exciting games and there is still every possibility for us to make the top four."

Many see the two sides as being similar in their approach to how they play, particularly in relation to how they like to keep the ball.

That was a feature missing in the United game and it cost them dearly and Rodgers has spent a fortnight over the international break assessing where it went wrong after enjoying so much success in the previous three months.

"Our possession wasn't good enough in our last game," he added.

"The key for us in the first half against United was that we didn't keep the ball well enough and, positionally, we were never in position to receive the ball and press the ball.

"We've talked about that, we've analysed that and we've worked on that; in order for us to maximise how we've been working we need to keep the ball better and be technically better.

OBJECTIVE

"That's a huge part of our game, and it's Arsenal's game. But, for us, we'll go there and tactically we are very clear on the idea of the game and we need to get something from the game, that's clear.

"But that was the same before we played the United game; Arsenal was a game that we wanted to ensure that we got at least a point from and that will be the case at the weekend.

"We'll be going there looking forward to the game and really motivated to get back to winning again."

Liverpool have been boosted by striker Daniel Sturridge's return to training after a hip injury, while fellow England international Adam Lallana is also expected to be fit after pulling out of Roy Hodgson's squad.

However, they will be missing centre back Martin Skrtel, a virtual ever-present this season, as he begins a three-match suspension alongside captain Steven Gerrard. - PA Sport.