Rodgers: United Face Years of Failure - The New Indian Express

Rodgers: United Face Years of Failure

Published: 15th March 2014 10:16 AM

Last Updated: 15th March 2014 10:31 AM

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool -manager, has warned Manchester United they are flirting with a prolonged period of Champions League exile if they drop out of the top four.

Rodgers leads his side to Old -Trafford in bullish mood tomorrow (Sunday), claiming a Liverpool victory will end any lingering hopes of United denying the Merseysiders a return to the European elite.

There was also a chilling message for rival David Moyes as he prepares for a pivotal summer of rebuilding at Old Trafford.

Rodgers says the fate of the Merseyside club when they lost their Champions League status five years ago is proof there is no easy way back for those who miss out, no matter how big the club.

"No, there's not," said Rodgers. "We still have a lot of work to get into the Champions League. But when you're not in it, even though this club is a worldwide, monumental club, we found it difficult because the best players want to play in the best competitions.

"This was Liverpool and we weren't in the Champions League. In order to get in some of the type of players we want, that's where we need to be and we're trying to be. Any club will suffer the same when they're not in there. There is no doubt it will hurt you, but they will know that.

"We were talking about the great Liverpool teams - one year becomes two and then all of a sudden it was 20 years since they won the title. It can get away from you very quickly.

"It's our focus and drive to arrive back [in the Champions League]. We have a long way to go but have shown great potential to be in there. I believe if we can get to that level then it gives us a massive advantage as a club."

Although Liverpool still harbour title aspirations, their first priority is regaining that top-four status. Rodgers says his side are determined to close the door on a late United surge back into the Champions League positions.

"We are 11 points clear now, if it goes to 14, they can't do it," Rodgers said. "Even 11 is going to be very tough because we are entering into a period where we are stronger. Our last 10 games last season we were brilliant and we have been doing the same pattern this year. Over 14 months we have shown that we have been on the up. The first job is to consolidate fourth and then work upwards. That will be the aim.

"I was never worried about Man United, I was only worried about Liverpool and us getting better. The players believe in it and the work has got them the rewards. You know when you're employed by Liverpool it is not to sit in seventh. You have to be up there and try to be the best. I'm not surprised by it but it's a bit earlier than I thought, maybe a year earlier.

"If you look at the numbers. If you look at the last 10 games of last season, when Fergie was there, and the 28 games this season, it is 38 games. That's a season's worth of games and we would be 12 points ahead over the course of that. We have scored 91 goals. This is a team of champions, Manchester United, renowned for real attacking intent. For us to make that turnaround in that period shows the progress and work that has gone on and we have to continue that."

Kenny Dalglish, the former Liverpool manager now an Anfield ambassador, believes Sir Alex Ferguson will be hurting as much as anyone at his side's troubles. "They will try and use the transfer window to rectify it a bit, but it might take them two or three transfer windows to get to where they want to be," he said.

"They have re-signed Rooney and I am sure they will get in the market and sign a few more. But it might be a bit more difficult to sign them if they are not in the Champions League.

"When there is a change of manager sometimes it is meant to be beneficial but I think it would be hard to see Fergie moving, someone coming in and it being beneficial.

"I don't think anyone could have foreseen what is happening. I cannot see how Fergie is getting any pleasure out of it, so I don't think anyone at Manchester United is happy. I wouldn't have thought people would have thought they would be out of two cups, sixth in the league and two down to Olympiakos.

"Liverpool are on a crest of a wave going to play at Old Trafford and they are on a crest of a slump really. Their season is not something they will be proud of so they will be looking to put a wee etch on their scoreboard that they have got one up on Liverpool.

"It has been a hard time for Moyesy at United. If they don't get a result on Sunday it could have a big bearing on how they approach the game against Olympiakos because I am sure if he doesn't beat Liverpool there will be a lot of criticism about him, the players and everybody going into the game against Olympiakos. It wouldn't be a good build up for him."

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