Vital month ahead for Rodgers

The Reds finally secured back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they eased to a 3-1 victory over Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.

Although their form has been so inconsistent, in the Champions League as well as domestically, they head into Saturday’s visit of Sunderland only six points behind third-placed Southampton.

That game precedes clashes with probable top-four rivals Manchester United and Arsenal, and Rodgers’ optimism is growing despite a continuing inability to field what would be his strongest team – star striker Daniel Sturridge has been out since the end of August and won’t be available again until 2015.

Work to do

“We have a bit of momentum now in terms of results, which breeds confidence in??the team and releases what might feel like a little bit of pressure,” Rodgers said.

“We still have a lot of work to do. There is a long road for us, but we are??edging our way there.

“If we get to the halfway point in January and be there or thereabouts I will??be pleased with that, considering the start we had in the first 12 games.

“After Crystal Palace (their third successive league defeat last month) it was??a real difficult moment.

“The run of games up till that in terms of results and performances just??weren’t quite there, but the reaction and mentality the players have shown since??that says a lot about their character and the determination to do well.

“We are not getting carried away with three (including the Champions League??draw against Ludogorets) good performances and results. We just have to keep??taking that confidence forward into the next game.”

Rodgers has been forced into regular changes in recent matches, with Lucas Leiva impressing in a defensive midfield role and Adam Lallana beginning to show why the club paid ??20m for him from Southampton.

“I think when Lucas has played this season he has done extremely well,”??Rodgers added. “There is the potential everyone can leave the football club, but we never had any offers for Lucas.

“He is a player who is an important part of our squad, who has real good??experience as a Brazil international.

“Last year, unfortunately for him, we played Stevie in that playmaker role??because of the players we had at the top of the field, so it wasn’t so much a??defensive role as we needed someone to initiate attacks.

“In the last few games we have gone with a different structure with having a??defensive midfielder and he has offered that protection. He is in a good moment, playing very well and long may it continue.”

On Lallana, he added: “Some changes in the team and behind that tactically have meant he has missed??out in some games, but when he has played he has shown up very well.

“He took his goal very well, and he has great work-rate and intensity. I have??been delighted with him since he has come in. He is a wonderful talent and will make a big impact during his time here.”