BRENDAN RODGERS last night rounded on the high profile critics – many of them former Liverpool players – who want him sacked.
Rodgers came out fighting following a gutsy 3-2 victory over Aston Villa – the club’s first league win in five games.
After saluting his players who set the ball rolling with a goal after just 66 seconds he took aim at “a group of people that don’t want me here’.
Former Anfield stars including Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp, Mark Lawrenson and John Aldridge have questioned the direction of the club under Rodgers.
Rodgers when asked about the pressure he has been under insisted: “I have never worried about the players. They have been brilliant. They have worked very, very hard.
“But I am pretty confident that there is a group of people that don’t want me to be manager here. In all competitions we have lost less games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. The hysteria around ourselves is interesting to note.
“We have lost two games, which is equal to Tottenham and Manchester United. We stand very calm, work very hard every day and we’ll get the rewards.
Brendan Rodgers will have relieved some of the pressure on him with the win against Aston Villa
“But I think it is clear. Sometimes we haven’t lost a game but we haven’t performed well and I think, from the hysteria around it, it is pretty clear there is maybe something else going on from behind. I’m talking about people outside of here.”
Rodgers also still has to completely convince Liverpool’s owners that he should remain as manager and the weekend trip to neighbours Everton could prove an acid test for the 42-year-old.
Sunday Express Sport can reveal that contact has been made with representatives of both former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and ex AC Milan, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Daniel Sturridge scored twice to secure victory for Liverpool
It was a sounding out exercise because the Liverpool hierarchy are split over whether to part company with the man who came close to winning the title just 16 months ago.
We can report that Ancelotti has told Liverpool that he is not available for hire until December although Klopp would come immediately.
But that won’t happen unless Rodgers suffers a heavy defeat at Goodison Park.
Carlo Ancelotti has told Liverpool he will not consider the managers job until December
Rodgers believes the return of England striker Daniel Sturridge after hip surgery in the USA is a timely tonic.
He scored twice against Villa with Rodgers adding: “It’s not rocket science,” said Rodgers. “The last time we scored three goals was when he started the game against Tottenham here (in February).
“If you’re going to compete at the top of the table you need quality. We’ve got some very good players here and Daniel has shown over his time here that he is a really, really top talent.
“When you miss that type of goal threat from your team you can suffer. I thought he was outstanding today. He was disappointed he didn’t get a hat-trick but his two finishes were outstanding and he showed great combination with Danny Ings considering it was the first time they had started together.”