SportSoccer

Brendan Rodgers begs fans to 'stay with the team'

SoccerBy Sunday World
Under fire: Brendan Rodgers
Under fire: Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers is ready to "embrace the challenge" of getting Liverpool's season back on track as speculation mounts regarding his future.

The Reds narrowly avoided Capital One Cup embarrassment on Wednesday, only beating League Two Carlisle on penalties, and since then former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has been widely linked with Rodgers' job.

The Northern Irishman faced a succession of tough questions at a press conference to preview Saturday's match against Aston Villa.

And he said: "I know we need to get results and I embrace that challenge. I'm a much better manager than three years ago.

"The message (to fans) is to stay with the team. It only takes a couple of results. One win and you're back in the top four.

"We have created that expectancy. How do I block it out? I focus very much on the team. I don't worry about myself."

Pressed specifically on his future, he added: "I'm never complacent enough to think (my position won't be under threat). It doesn't frighten me.

"I expect to be a manager for the next 20 years. That might not all be here."

Rodgers also offered updates on the club's injuries, including among their strikers.

Christian Benteke will not face his former club this weekend and Rodgers added the Belgian will be out "for some time".

England international Daniel Sturridge is in contention against Villa but Rodgers warned: "We have to manage him into games."