Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers is confident there is no better manager to deliver silverware for Liverpool, despite facing the prospect of a third successive season without a trophy.
The Reds were beaten in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, meaning Rodgers will become the first Liverpool manager since Phil Taylor in 1959 to go three successive years without winning a major accolade.
Brendan Rodgers. Pic/AFP
Liverpool's chances of finishing inside the top four and also qualifying for the Champions League are slim - they trail fourth-placed Manchester United by seven points. Jurgen Klopp has been linked with the top job at Anfield after announcing he will leave German club Borsussia Dortmund at the end of the season.
But Rodgers believes he is the perfect person to steer Liverpool to success. When asked if he would still be in charge next season, the 42-year-old Northern Irishman said: "Very much so. I don't think there's anyone better. That's the reality of how I see it. "Three months ago I was a tactical genius, performing to a good level. We lost some important games and now I'm not so good.
That's football, people will speculate. "Whenever you're at a club like Liverpool, you have many names mentioned," he added. "It's a huge, well-respected club, worldwide. "There's absolutely no problem, you lose a couple of games and names get mentioned. That will continue forever because it's such huge club."
Liverpool, runners-up in the Premier League last season, travel to West Brom on Saturday before facing Hull on Tuesday and Rodgers was in no doubt about the importance of both matches. "We want to finish the season strong and take that momentum into following season," he said.
"We missed out on one of our goals, which was to win a trophy. "Another was to get in the top four. That will be difficult but we need to be fighting right to the very end. "It's a distant possibility. We have to be there if anyone makes mistakes and be ready to take advantage." Liverpool will continue to be without Daniel Sturridge and Mamadou Sakho, while midfielder Adam Lallana has a slight chance of returning to the squad.
After keeping Jordan Henderson at Anfield on a long-term deal, Rodgers said he hoped other players would follow suit - including Raheem Sterling. Talks with the England forward have been put on hold until the end of the season but Rodgers said: "His representatives will speak with the club and, hopefully, we'll get that organised as well."
West Brom captain Darren Fletcher was confident they would avoid another relegation battle next season due to manager Tony Pulis's high standards. Last Saturday's 2-0 win at Crystal Palace moved the Baggies within tantalising reach of safety in the Premier League. "The manager doesn't settle for mediocrity, he always wants to improve and move forward and that's very much the mindset everyone should have," Fletcher said.
"That's what I like. He's got that attitude and desire and all the players will respond to that and if they don't I'm sure he'll do something about it," the former Manchester United midfielder added. West Brom have collected 19 points from 14 league matches since Pulis took charge and Fletcher insisted they have the perfect manager to take the club forward. He added: "I'm not going to tell Tony Pulis how to do his job. I trust the manager completely and he's been fantastic with me and everyone. "He wants to progress and there's no better manager to do it."
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