Rodgers wants Reds rally against Arsenal

Rodgers wants Reds rally against Arsenal

LIVERPOOL - Agence France-Presse
Rodgers wants Reds rally against Arsenal

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has publicly criticized his young players for not living up to the challenge against third-tier Oldham in the FA Cup. AFP photo

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has called on his players to bounce back from its humiliating defeat by Oldham and keep its slim hopes of making the top four alive by beating Arsenal in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

The Reds were knocked out of the FA Cup by third-tier League One side Oldham on Jan. 27, which left Rodgers furious with the younger players in his squad who let him down.

Facing Arsenal will be a tough ask, considering Liverpool is yet to beat a team in the top half of the table so far this season.

“Sunday hurt, very much so,” said Rodgers. “It is bitterly disappointing when you lose such a game. As a manager it has to give you greater motivation to push on. If we are going to progress we have to make sure the players are hungry in every game. We need to do better against teams in the top half. There’s no doubt in big games we want to do better.

“It is a very important game. It is a game we go into, if you put Sunday aside, with confidence. It is a tough game but one we will look to try and win and one we are capable of winning.”

Meanwhile Theo Walcott believes Arsenal’s season is beginning to gather some momentum after the Gunners followed up the 5-1 league victory over West Ham with a 3-2 cup win at Brighton.

Walcott himself has been in fine form, scoring in three successive matches including the late winner at Brighton that took his goals tally for this season to 17.

The player accepts the visit of Liverpool will provide a stern examination but believes Arsene Wenger’s side, who currently lie sixth, are now ready to step up the pressure on the top four.

“It’s going to be an intense game against Liverpool,” Walcott said. “Both teams are fighting for that fourth position and are very close together. But I think the way we played at home the other day against West Ham shows that we are strong enough to beat them.”