Boss who takes “great pride” in seeing his Reds play with dignity and class points out they top the Prem table AND the Fair Play League
Brendan Rodgers won’t sacrifice Liverpool’s soul for the title… even after a 24-year wait for the championship.
Liverpool manager Rodgers insisted he will remain true to the club’s philosophy of trying to retain dignity and class even in winning, as the Reds pursue their first ever Premier League triumph.
Rodgers has always demanded his side perform in the most sporting way possible, and even after successive weekends when West Ham were wrongly awarded a goal against his men and Luis Suarez was accused of cheating by Manchester City, the Reds boss believes in taking the high road in pursuit of their dream.
“We will try to do it in the right way – I take great pride in winning in the most sporting way we can,” he explained.
“If you look at us we are top of the Premier League and we are top of the Fair Play League. We don’t surround referees. We want to win, but it shows you a mark of our behaviour.
“They are the values of this club. It’s a club that has won many trophies in the past but had the humility and the class. One word I always had in my mind when I joined Liverpool is ‘class.’ So that is important to me – that those values are restored.”
Suarez was at the centre of another storm of controversy in the thrilling defeat of City, when the visiting players swarmed round the referee trying to get the striker sent off, in an unsavoury show of gamesmanship.
City’s behaviour was made to look even worse – after they surrounded the official claiming the South American had dived and should have been dismissed – when BBC TV replays later revealed he had actually been chopped to the ground by Martin Demichelis.
Suarez was also denied a penalty, with television showing he had been dragged to the ground in the box by visiting skipper Vincent Kompany.
But even though refereeing decisions seem to have gone against the Reds in recent weeks – most notably at West Ham when the goal was allowed to stand despite an obvious foul actually pointed out by the linesman – Rodgers argued his team will not resort to gamesmanship.
“I believe you can’t affect refereeing decisions. Absolutely,” the Anfield boss added. “There will be little bits of luck that go for and against you but I like to think as a sporting team and a team that’s trying to work well we’ve got our rewards this year.
“At West Ham, I had a quiet word with the referee on the way out. Calm, get his reasons behind it, and then move on.
“The bottom line is I went into the dressing room at Upton Park, it was 1-1 [after the Hammers scored via Andy Carroll’s foul on keeper Simon Mignolet]. I said to the players, ‘Listen, you can have an excuse. I can tell you your excuse after the game – the referee gave a poor goal. But it won’t change anything.’
“All we can do is focus again and get our flow and rhythm again. We try to have a no excuses environment here.”