Brendan Rodgers has come out fighting amid speculation over his Liverpool job, insisting he is “better” now than when the Reds nearly won the league.
Rodgers led Liverpool to an unconvincing but necessary 3-2 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday, and criticised the “hysteria” surrounding the club afterward.
With the Reds struggling this season, Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti have both been linked with his job, but the Northern Irishman has brushed off reports and has claimed he is only improving and developing as a manager.
“I am the same guy who nearly won us the league, but better,” said Rodgers.
“I think I have shown in the early stages of my management – without being arrogant – that with a talented group of players I can compete at the top end of the league. I know how to manage top players. If you give me the tools, I’ll do the work.”
Rodgers took over at Liverpool in 2012, leaving his role as Swansea manager to replace Kenny Dalglish. The Reds finished 8th in the season before he joined, which represented their worst finish since the 1993/94 season.
“There are very short memories in football. The team was eighth when I got here,” Rodgers, manager of the team currently in eighth, added. “We built a team to excite people throughout European football, that should have won the league.”
“All the good work gets forgotten. That’s how it works. It seems the focus has not been on what’s gone on and what we’ve been missing, but more about getting me out of the club. That’s sad.”
Rodgers added that he had not spoken to Klopp, Ancelotti or even former Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri, who had been linked with a move to Anfield earlier in the week.
“No. If I spoke to every manager we’re linked with, I’d speak to 13 managers,” he said. “I’d be busy ringing.”