Brendan Rodgers has rejected Harry Redknapp’s claims that Liverpool are “bang average”, stressing that implementing his style of play requires more time.
The Reds suffered a demoralising 3-0 home reverse to West Ham before the international break, with pressure mounting on Rodgers and his side.
After following up their push for the title in 2013/14, a disappointing sixth-placed finish last season has seen some call into question Rodgers’ style of play – including Redknapp.
The former Spurs boss branded the Reds “bang average” earlier this month, adding: “I think it’s the worst Liverpool team I have seen in years. They are lucky to have any points. I think they will do well to finish in the top five.”
Rodgers has rejected Redknapp’s claims, and says that it will take more time for him to implement his “philosophy” throughout the squad.
“People will always form opinions and Harry is someone I have huge respect for,” Rodgers said. “But it’s a team that has changed and will progress over the course of the season.
“I know this group of players will improve as the season moves on. We need to give this group a bit of time. That’s something ill afforded to you in modern football but I get great excitement when I see the players, and seeing the likes of Daniel [Sturridge] coming back.
“I think this team will show its worth over the course of the season, not just in these early games. In the season when we nearly won the league we didn’t really play that brand of football until November or December time.
“It’s clear how we want to work. I’m not one who chops and changes the philosophy – that’s something inherent in you. The idea and the philosophy is very clear on how we play. We want to be really creative – create opportunities to score goals while having a strong defensive organisation.
“I’ll always believe in that way. When you work that way with that vision, the consequences of that is teams that will gradually improve. What we are seeing at the moment is players coming in and adapting to it.”
Ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Manchester United on Saturday, Rodgers has spoken of his previous visit to Old Trafford, where he suffered the “best defeat” of his career in a 3-0 loss.
“It was probably the best defeat I’ve ever had. Of course you never want to lose a game and especially not to a rival like Manchester United. But I saw enough that day to know that we had got our identity back again. We created a lot of chances and should have scored goals but we ultimately lost the game because we didn’t defend well enough. From that moment we kicked on and had a very good spell.”