Brendan Rodgers believes he is starting to get the best out of his players at Liverpool, and that his time at Anfield is starting to reap rewards.
Dalglish brought the English duo to Liverpool at the start of the 2011/12 season, but neither player settled in as a regular, with Downing in particular coming in for harsh criticism, having failed to score a Premier League goal or register an assist in his first season with the club.
However, Rodgers believes he’s now starting to see improvements in both players, and he feels his methods are producing results.
“I will be able to improve players. That is my work and I have confidence in that. You look at Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique since the start of the season and we have added value back to them. That is the job of the manager and the coach, as well as winning games.”
Downing finally registered his first league goal for the club earlier this season, as well as two more in the Europa League, and his form as been noticeably better, leading to a recall to the England squad. Henderson has only started 4 Premier League games, although he did start all 8 games in the Europa League for the club, scoring a goal in the process.
Rodgers continued: “If I look at the first six months, I believe there has been improvement in a lot of the players. I will be able to rinse everything that I possible can out of them, but the bottom line is about the talent. If you don’t initially have that then I can be difficult. That is also why I was brought in here, because we will get talents and we will try to maximise what we can out of the players.”
Rodgers faces a big test this weekend with a trip to Old Trafford to face league leaders Manchester United. New signing Daniel Sturridge is expected to start the game, and whilst Rodgers is glad to have the former Chelsea player at Anfield, he also admits he’s having to work with a limited budget, meaning he needs to find improvement in the players already at his disposal.
“We will always be governed by budget, always be governed by restrictions on certain things within the club because if you haven’t got the money, you can’t spend it. Then you have to work with the players you have and I have done that throughout my life.”
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