Rodgers: Spurs still in contention

Rodgers: Spurs still in contention

Published Dec. 14, 2013 12:00 a.m. ET

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers feels Tottenham are still in the Premier League title hunt ahead of the sides' Sunday showdown.

Rodgers believes Sunday's opponents Tottenham have been under-estimated by many but insists his side will not be taking them lightly.

Spurs' season so far has been widely dismissed as one of under-achievement but they lie only three points behind the second-placed Reds.

That is in addition to managing a Europa League campaign which has seen them qualify for the last 32 with a 100 per cent record.


Liverpool and Tottenham are seen as top-four contenders but Rodgers believes the Londoners are still in the hunt for top spot, currently occupied by Arsenal with a five-point cushion.

They may only be averaging a goal a game over the first 15 matches, making them the lowest scorers in the top 11, but Rodgers said that does not do justice to their quality.

"People look at Spurs and question how they've done but I think they've done terrifically," he said.

"They have a strong and deep squad and they are right up there in the league.

"There are six or seven teams involved in the race for the top four.

"Everyone will look at Manchester City as having the outstanding squad but Tottenham will look at what they have spent and they will give themselves a chance of maybe winning the title.

"Chelsea historically have been up there and Arsenal have made an excellent start also so I think it is open.

"We really relish going there (White Hart Lane). Our last two performances, the goals we have scored have been outstanding and we know we can go anywhere and score goals."

While Rodgers has maximized the return he has had from strikers Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge with 15 and nine league goals apiece, Tottenham have struggled up front.

Roberto Soldado, a £26million summer signing from Valencia, has scored just four league goals but his midweek Europa League hat-trick helped boost his season's tally to nine.

"There is that adaptation period. They spent a lot of money bringing him in but even a player of that quality can take some time to settle in," said Rodgers.

"He benefits in and around the box. I think his record over the last couple of years shows he scored once from outside the box but his hat-trick will give him a confidence."

Rodgers will also be without captain Steven Gerrard for possibly the next six weeks as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

His absence has highlighted the need to strengthen the squad and the manager hopes to be as successful in this January window as he was 12 months ago when he brought in Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, both of whom have become integral players.

"It's not just about getting them, it's what's available that can improve you," he said.

"Everyone knows that January is a difficult window. We did a remarkable piece of business last January in Coutinho and Sturridge.

"If there is a player or players out there that will improve our team, I know the owners will support that. They have been outstanding for me.

"It's just on the availability of the right type of player, and that has to be a player than can come into the team and improve us."