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Rodgers bemoans Liverpool stumble

SoccerNews in English Premier League 5 Oct 2012

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Brendan Rodgers has called for his Liverpool players to improve their concentration after a 3-2 defeat to Udinese in the Europa League.

The Reds manager was disappointed at giving away three ‘poor’ goals at the beginning of the second half, after they went into the break with a 1-0 advantage.

And Rodgers said that he has grown frustrated by his team’s inability to see out a game when on top of their opponents so far this season.

“I thought we were very, very good in the first half, and the problems that we have in the first 15-20 minutes in the second half has been with us from the beginning of the season,” he told ITV.

“We lose concentration and become lazy, and all of a sudden in that period we find ourselves 3-1 down.

“We inject energy and the quality into the game in the last 20 minutes or so and that’s the level that the players have been at recently.

“So we’re just disappointed it was after such a good first half and control and domination – to then give away such poor goals at the beginning of the second half, and then obviously we’re chasing the game at 3-1.”

Liverpool sit third in Group A, one point behind joint leaders Udinese and Anzhi Makhachkala, but Rodgers has not given up hope of qualification to the next round.

He added: “We looked like we were going to win it, then maybe get a point and we ended up with nothing. There are quality teams in this group. It’s qualification that we aim for.”

Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin could not contain his delight after his side’s win on what he described as a ‘magical evening’.

“We played an excellent second half on a magical evening that we will always remember. Winning here has never been and never will be easy for anyone,” he told reporters.

“We had already clarified everything. At half-time I tried to bring out the best in myself to reassure the lads, who I had seen a little demoralised.

“We talked for five minutes in the dressing room and also changed the tactics and did well to score after just 30 seconds. My team played with real heart in the second half.”

Guidolin hopes that this victory will serve to give his team a lift ahead of their Serie A showdown with Napoli at the weekend.

“I hope this gives us a real boost in terms of results and confidence,” he said.

“We have to focus on Napoli now and it will be very tough, but right now I am just so happy. I want to share this joy with my children, who live in England and I don’t get to see very often.”

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