LONDON: Brendan Rodgers claims Liverpool won’t be affected by the painful memories of their disastrous meltdown against Crystal Palace when they return to Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Rodgers’ side blew a three-goal lead as Palace staged a remarkable revival in the final 11 minutes to shatter Liverpool’s hopes of winning the Premier League title last season.
The Reds, without a win in three league games, don’t have to worry about ruining their title challenge this time as they are almost out of the race already after falling 15 points behind leaders Chelsea.
But Rodgers is hopeful his players will use the opportunity to avenge their last encounter with Palace as a springboard for a winning run. “Maybe the excitement to claw back the goal difference gap to Manchester City overtook us when we played Palace last time,” said Rodgers. “But the damage was always done in the Chelsea defeat. That was the one that changed it for us.”
Rodgers’ tactics have been called into question for the first time during his reign, but the 41-year-old is adamant that he and his team are capable of adapting to changing circumstances.
Injuries fuel more problems for manager
With injury-plagued striker Daniel Sturridge sidelined for another six weeks with a thigh strain, Rodgers could have done without seeing Mario Balotelli suffer a hamstring problem on international duty with Italy.
But Balotelli is yet to score a Premier League goal since his move from AC Milan and, even if he recovers in time to feature this weekend, Rodgers hinted that former Southampton striker Rickie Lambert is set for more playing time after a quiet start to his spell at Anfield.
“A lot of the focus this season has been on players who are injured and a player who is no longer here [Luis Suarez],” said the Northern Irishman.
“Rickie will get an opportunity now. We have so many games in an exciting period and he will feature in those heavily.”
Palace sit just one place above the relegation zone after losing four of their last five games, with problems in defence and attack giving Warnock plenty to work on during the international break.
Meanwhile in the other match of the day, 15th-placed Hull City host 12th-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the KC Stadium.