Liverpool’s winless streak was stretched to five matches by Norwich City on Sunday afternoon, but Brendan Rodgers insists his side are improving.
When Christian Benteke opened his account to seal a narrow win over Bournemouth last month, it maintained the Reds winning start to the new campaign. But since that win over the Cherries Rodgers has seen his side lose at home to West Ham United and at rivals Manchester United, whilst drawing in the UEFA Europa League to Bordeaux and twice more in the league.
Whereas the goalless stalemate against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium can be deemed as a good point, to drop two points at home to Norwich City has to be considered less so. It looked as though the Merseyside club would get back to winning ways when Danny Ings scored early in the second half, but this was levelled when Russell Martin finished to equalise on the hour.
All this adds up to a disappointing start to the season for Liverpool, who finished in sixth position last term just 12 months after going within touching distance of a first league title since 1990. Finishing in the top four is certainly the aim for Rodgers this campaign, and despite losing two points to the Canaries, the Northern Irishman insists he has sense an improvement.
“We lost concentration and Russell Martin hooks it in, so that’s disappointing and that’s a goal which should not happen,” he said. “Apart from that there were a lot more positives and we want to win every game here no matter who the opponent is. I think today was a step forward for us in terms of getting creativity back into our game and hopefully we can progress from that.”
The Reds attention now turns to the League Cup, when they host Carlisle United of League Two at Anfield. Their Premier League campaign resumes with another home match, against an Aston Villa side who sit one place above the relegation zone. Christian Benteke may miss out against his former club due to a hamstring problem, but Daniel Sturridge could be set to continue in attack.
The former Manchester City and Chelsea striker – so important for the Merseyside club – made his first start since April against Norwich having being sidelined following a hip operation, and played for 60 minutes. Rodgers said: “He is a way off full fitness but his presence and stature will give us something. It is about building his fitness. There is no pressure on him to do that.”