Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers basked in a seventh successive Premier League win after defeating Sunderland 2-1 on Wednesday.
With all eyes on Anfield after Manchester City’s 3-0 humbling of champions Manchester United on Tuesday, Rodgers’ men kept their own title aspirations well and truly alive in a tense encounter.
A nervy victory, in which Steven Gerrard’s free-kick and Daniel Sturridge’s 20th league goal of the campaign rendered Ki Sung-Yueng’s header a consolation, leaves Liverpool in second, two points ahead of City – who have two games in hand – and one behind leaders Chelsea.
“I thought we showed great character and we certainly deserved to win the game,” said Rodgers.
“The whole perception now is that we’re going to get three, four, five, six goals – which is wonderful – but we knew we had to be patient.
“It’s seven wins on the spin at this level in the Premier League, which is a huge credit to the players and supporters. The crowd got us over the line.
“We have had a wonderful season until now, but there is still a way to go. Our idea is to stay calm under pressure; it always gets hairy at 2-1 and it means so much to you.
“As the season goes on, we’ll embrace that pressure and enjoy it. We have to just keep chalking up the wins.”
Rodgers also reserved praise for striker Sturridge, whose goal means he and Luis Suarez are now the first Liverpool duo to each score 20 league goals in a season since Roger Hunt and Ian St John in 1963-64.
“It’s a wonderful achievement (scoring 20 goals),” added the boss. “He (Sturridge) has been exceptional since he has come here.
“With him and Luis, I don’t see them as a pair. They are both soloists with different qualities. Hopefully they can continue to score goals.”