Saturday 25 November 2017

Further blow to Rodgers chances of survival as Christian Benteke ruled out for weeks

Whether Liverpool are playing to Christian Benteke’s strengths is a moot point — they aren’t set up to service a traditional centre-forward
Whether Liverpool are playing to Christian Benteke’s strengths is a moot point — they aren’t set up to service a traditional centre-forward

Liverpool striker Christian Benteke is likely to be sidelined for some time by a hamstring problem and is one of a number of absentees ahead of the visit of Aston Villa.

Forward Roberto Firmino has a suspected cracked bone in his back while Dejan Lovren is also sidelined for a few weeks with a ligament injury.

Captain Jordan Henderson will be out for up to eight weeks after undergoing an operation on a broken bone in his foot but striker Daniel Sturridge returns to the squad having been rested for the midweek Capital One Cup tie.

At his press conference this morning, the under-pressure Liverpool boss admitted that his future was being questioned. "I'm never complacent enough to think it has never been. Positive fear drives you.

When asked about his position, Rodgers said that he would always respect Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group: "Whether I'm here one day more or one month more I'll always have respect for them."

READ MORE: Steven Gerrard slams Brendan Rodgers 'over-confident' approach

The manager 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.

READ MORE: 'Liverpool fans have every right to feel frustrated' reveals 'keeper Adam Bogdan

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.

READ MORE: Premier League sack race is hotting up as odds slashed on Brendan Rodgers getting the boot as Liverpool boss

"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."

READ MORE: Is Rodgers set to pack his bags?

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."

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