Set play worry for Liverpool boss Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told his team that they must improve their defending from set plays if they are to maintain a challenge for a Champions League spot, ESPN has reported.

In the 2-2 draw at Newcastle this weekend, the Reds conceded from a Yohan Cabaye free-kick that was put away by defender Paul Dummett, for his first goal in a Toon shirt.

Out of the last six goals the Anfield club have conceded, four have been from dead ball situations, including one at home to lowly Crystal Palace, and the Northern Irishman is keen to sort out the defensive frailty.

He said: “It’s something that we need to address, for sure. We have to be more aggressive and more switched on. It’s concentration. The goal at home to Crystal Palace was disappointing. That was a poor goal to give away, but thankfully it never cost us.

Dummet’s goal for the Magpies on Saturday put the Geordie side 2-1 ahead, despite being down to 10 men following the dismissal of defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in the first-half for a tug on Luis Suarez as the striker bore down on goal.

Rodgers added: “Here, conceding from a set piece put us on the back foot. We were looking forward to the second half at 1-1, and suddenly we were behind. It’s something for us to work on, but in football there is always something to improve on. At this moment, that is an area for us to look at.

After finishing seventh last season, Liverpool currently occupy third position in the table, and have made a strong start to the new campaign. The former Swansea boss is keen to see this progress continue in an attempt to make a challenge for a Champions League spot come the end of the season.

There will come a time when we start looking at when we can challenge, but we can’t get carried away,” Rodgers said. “The club finished eighth the year before I came in, and we finished seventh last year. The jump in terms of finances between there and the top end is massive. But we will continue to fight.

We have stabilised the mentality, there’s a strong culture at the club now, and I think the supporters can see the direction we’re going in. Sixth would be an improvement, but also a disappointment, as there would still be five teams above us.

Liverpool take on 12th placed West Brom this weekend at Anfield, and could go top of the table should results go their way.

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