Steven Gerrard believes that Liverpool’s failure to finish in the top four in each of the last three seasons is due to the club being instructed to play with a smaller mentality than is justified.
The Reds suffered a disappointing eighth-place finish to their domestic campaign last season but will return to the UEFA Europa League courtesy of their Carling Cup triumph.
However, even silverware was not sufficient in saving former boss Kenny Dalglish from the sack as the club’s Premier League struggles were unbearable at times.
Gerrard feels that the arrival of Brendan Rodgers is poised to spell a fresh era of much higher confidence within the squad – a key ingredient that has been missing in recent years.
“The idea is to improve and have some fun along the way in the cup competitions, like we did last year. We were brilliant at times in the league too, it’s just we never got out of them what we deserved,” Gerrard explained.
He added: “But there were times you would come off thinking ‘no wonder we are sixth, seventh and eighth’. We are Liverpool, we can’t finish eighth. We have to put that right.
“It was frustrating but if you look at the season, you can’t use it as an excuse for finishing eighth. It wasn’t good enough. Over the years sometimes Liverpool have come up against a certain type of opposition and shown them too much respect. But maybe we have had to, because of the style we’ve been asked to play.
“There were times under previous managers when we showed too much respect, but Brendan wants us to play like a big team.”
When asked to elaborate on Rodgers’ man-management, the 32-year old continued: “He’s been coaching for 20 years and dealing with big players. I’ve been impressed with his knowledge and how he’s dealt with me. The players who have worked with him over the past few weeks have said the same.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done sharpish. But already in training, in only my second session, we are doing team shape and he is telling players what he expects movement wise.”
The Rodgers revolution is expected to take some time before yielding concrete results but a first win under the Northern Irishman would be helpful when the Reds conclude their pre-season tour of the United States in Saturday’s exhibition against Tottenham.