They all want me out!
Liverpool boss Rodgers says there are forces outside the club who have an agenda against him
(James Milner 2, Daniel Sturridge 58, 67)
ASTON VILLA 2
(Rudy Gestede 66, 70)
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claimed there are external forces at work with an agenda against him, but he refused to say who he thought was behind it or why.
Two goals from Daniel Sturridge and one from James Milner eased the pressure on Rodgers with a 3-2 win over Aston Villa, for whom Rudy Gestede scored twice.
Rodgers has seen his position come under increasing scrutiny after some poor performances but he thinks there is an active campaign being waged against him.
"I am pretty confident that there is a group of people that don't want me to be the manager here," he said.
"Sometimes we haven't lost games and the hysteria around it is pretty clear that there is maybe something else going on from behind.
"I am talking about people outside of here (the club).
"In all competitions we have lost less games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
"We have lost two games, which is equal to Tottenham and Manchester United.
"The hysteria around ourselves is interesting to note. Myself and the players stay very calm and work very hard knowing we will get our rewards.
"We are very much together as a team and the supporters were fantastic today.
"As supporters and players we got the victory. We are five points off the top and still with a lot of progress to make."
Rodgers' comments suggest he is unhappy with his treatment in the media but he would not offer any hint of who he was referring to.
Whatever his argument with outside influences, there is no doubt Liverpool have received a boost from the return of Sturridge, who scored his first goals since March after a hip operation.
"It is not rocket science. The last time we scored three goals was when he started against Tottenham (in February)," Rodgers added.
"If you want to compete at the top you need quality. Daniel has shown in his time he is a real top talent.
"I thought he was outstanding and I was disappointed he didn't get a hat-trick.
"His overall game and touch were outstanding and he had a great combination with Danny Ings.
"That is the first time they have started and they showed that understanding that good players have."
While Liverpool are only five points adrift of leaders Manchester United, Villa are stuck in the bottom three.
"If you score two at Anfield you expect to take something from the game but we didn't do that," said manager Tim Sherwood.
"That is a major disappointment but it is something I expected.
"It is a young group of players we acquired. The club decided it was the best way to go forward and I am very privileged to have the chance to work with them but it comes with its ups and downs." - PA Sport.
EX-LIVERPOOL STARS WHO HAVE BEEN CRITICAL OF RODGERS
Many former Liverpool players have been highly critical of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Mark Lawrenson claimed that one defeat from the games against Aston Villa, FC Sion and derby rivals Everton would lead to Rodgers' dismissal.
Former club captains Jamie Carragher, Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp have also expressed their dissatisfaction with Rodgers.