Rodgers rules out Anfield exit

Brendan Rodgers: Wants long-term future with Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers: Wants long-term future with Liverpool

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Rodgers’ current Liverpool contract expires in 2018 – and the Northern Irishman has been linked, by the national press, with Manchester City if Manuel Pellegrini was to leave the Premier League champions.

But Rodgers said: “I’ve signed a deal here, and I want to be here to see that through.

“Then I hope I’ll have earned enough time to warrant another deal, to keep growing and building here.

“Where do you go from Liverpool, who are one of the biggest clubs in the world?

“I chose to come to Liverpool because I hoped I could be here for many years.”

Rodgers says he is excited about seeing his strategy help Liverpool to develop over the coming years.

“I find I am developing into the very best I can be and we are working into an exciting phase after this season,” he said.

“If we get young players tied to contracts, I hope that will allow us to win trophies with this way of working.”

Liverpool could book an FA Cup semi-final appearance at Wembley if they beat Blackburn in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday and Rodgers acknowledges that he must win trophies in order to remain in the Anfield hot-seat for years to come.

“I really wanted to be here, follow some incredible managers with a support that is unrivalled, and to have success while knowing I was young enough to create and build something,” he added.

“That is why I came here. I know I need to justify that by working well and winning trophies. I hope that is the next step.

“When you come here, that is what you are judged on. It is something (win trophies) I want to do for all the supporters and people here.”

Rodgers hits out at replay dates

Brendan Rodgers (r) with Blackburn counterpart Gary Bowyer

Brendan Rodgers (r) with Blackburn counterpart Gary Bowyer

Rodgers’ men were unable to reach the last four at the first time of asking after a resolute Blackburn side held them to a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool are unable to take part in a replay in the next fortnight due to UEFA regulations preventing domestic games from clashing with Champions League or Europa League fixtures. An international break will further delay the replay at Ewood Park.

But Reading look likely to have to stage their replay with Bradford on March 16, just 48 hours after both sides are involved in separate league fixtures.

“I believe the (Liverpool v Blackburn) replay is early April, the 7th or 8th,” said Rodgers.

“It is certainly not what it is for Reading and Bradford. That is unbelievable.

“I feel for them, having to play Saturday and again on Monday. It is incredible. It’s unfair for both clubs with so much at stake. I feel sorry for Parky and for Steve and for the players.”

The timing of the replay against Blackburn means Liverpool face the prospect of playing four matches in a fortnight – a situation which is far from ideal Rodgers says.

“The fixtures are tough and it certainly doesn’t help. But we just deal with it and we now have to go to Blackburn and win but we are more than capable of doing that.”

Rodgers was also once again critical of the state of the Anfield pitch which he says hinders the way his side plays.

“I’ll say it again the pitch makes it tough,” Rodgers said. “You can see yourself it certainly does not help us. When it comes to playing games you certainly want it to be an advantage. If there’s any team it doesn’t help it’s us.”

But Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer believes the pitch at Anfield is far superior to the surface Liverpool can expect to play on at Ewood Park in a month’s time.

“Our players were pleasantly delighted to see so much grass on the pitch at Anfield,” he said.

“Brendan was complaining about the pitch here. Wait until he sees Ewood. It makes this look like Wembley

Savage on Man Utd v Arsenal

“After seeing how much Newcastle’s pace on the break hurt United on Wednesday, the Gunners should try to do the same with their fast players by putting pressure on United’s two central midfielders. If Arsenal can nick the ball when Ander Herrera is high up the pitch then they can hurt United. Arsenal should go for it at Old Trafford and I see Arsene Wenger’s side winning 2-1.”

Angel Di Maria in the Premier League

That does not tell the full story of his first season in England, though. You get that when you look at how his statistics have got worse as the campaign has gone on.

Angel Di Maria in the Premier League

2014-15 Before 1 Dec After 1 Dec
Games 11 (11) 9 (8)
Minutes 838 643
Goals 3 0
Assists 6 2
Shots (on target) 21 (48%) 16 (38%)
Passing accuracy 79.91% 74.69%
Chances created 31 14

Di Maria celebrates with Wayne Rooney after scoring his first United goal, against QPR

Man Utd duo Angel Di Maria and Wayne Rooney

Di Maria celebrates with Wayne Rooney after scoring his first United goal, against QPR

The very best players in the world are able to grab games by the scruff of the neck and lift their team when they are not playing well.

Sanchez has been a great example of that with the way he has regularly made things happen for Arsenal on the days when they have been average and have needed his help to help set the tempo in attack.

There is no way you could say that Di Maria has done the same for United while they have been short of their best form.

Yes he still works hard but, if anything, his performances have been getting worse, not better.

I highlighted on Match of the Day a couple of weeks ago how easily Di Maria was being knocked off the ball.

‘Di Maria was the third or fourth best in the world’

He was man of the match in last season’s Champions League final, which Real won, and he had a great World Cup.Argentina definitely missed him in the final against Germany and, with him in the team, they arguably would have won it.Argentina definitely missed him in the final against Germany and, with him in the team, they arguably would have won it. Di Maria played on the right flank that night and he was ridiculously goodAngel Di Maria celebrates his goal against Germany