Right time for reds to shine, says Rodgers

Right time for reds to shine, says Rodgers
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

LONDON - Brendan Rodgers claimed that Liverpool were hitting top gear at the right time, as they booked their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Liverpool have lost just once from their last 16 games in all competitions. The Merseysiders are making a charge for a Champions League return in the Premier League.

Rodgers' side are still in the hunt for silverware in the Europa League, and are three victories away from ensuring Steven Gerrard signs off with an FA Cup winners' medal.

Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana helped Liverpool earn the comeback 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Rodgers admitted that England striker Sturridge's return, following a long injury spell that has seen him sidelined for over half of the season, could not be underestimated.

He said: "Danny is working his way back. It's about extending his game time.

"I have to do that or you risk reinjuring him, and that's something we can't afford.

"You can see his qualities, his speed and his touch.

"The team is functioning at a high level at the moment. His return gives us a big boost for the last part of the season."

Fraizer Campbell handed Crystal Palace a first-half lead at a ground where Liverpool had not won since 1997.

But Sturridge kept up his amazing FA Cup goal-scoring run by notching his 10th goal in 12 games to level the score. Lallana clinched the fifth-round win.

Rodgers said: "The last time we came here in the league earlier this season, we lost and it was a low one. It was the making of the team really...And the players' character has been tremendous.

"It's been incredible since, really. Hopefully it will continue now until the end of the season."

With the outgoing Gerrard absent, stand-in Jordan Henderson stepped into his shoes with a man-of-the-match showing.

Rodgers refused to compare the two players, with Gerrard bound for the MLS next season, but said: "Nobody fills Steven Gerrard's boots. He's one of the best players in the history of the Premier League.

"Jordan's a different type of player. Steven Gerrard's quality, he still has that, way above most players in the world and certainly in our team.

"I wouldn't even start writing comparisons. Jordan is a wonderful young player who works tirelessly at his game, the ultimate professional who prepares himself every day for training and games, and could be a future captain here.

"But don't compare him with Steven."


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