Two goals from Daniel Sturridge and one from James Milner eased the pressure on Rodgers in a 3-2 win over Aston Villa, for whom Rudy Gestede scored twice. Rodgers has seen his position come under increasing scrutiny after some poor performances but he thinks there is an active campaign being waged against him. “I am pretty confident that there is a group of people that don’t want me here to be the manager,” he said. “Sometimes we haven’t lost games and the hysteria around it is pretty clear that there is maybe something else going on from behind. “I am talking about people outside of here (the club). “In all competitions we have lost less games than Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. “We have lost two games, which is equivalent to Tottenham and Manchester United. “The hysteria around ourselves is interesting to note. Myself and the players stay very calm and work very hard knowing we will get our rewards. “We are very much together as a team and the supporters were fantastic today. “As supporters and players we got the victory. We are five points off the top and still with a lot of progress to make.” Rodgers’ comments suggest he is unhappy with his treatment in the media. Many former Liverpool players have been highly critical, although Rodgers would not offer any hint of who he was referring to. Whatever his argument with outside influences, there is no doubt Liverpool have received a boost from the return of Sturridge, who scored his first goals since March after a hip operation. “It is not rocket science. The last time we scored three goals was when he started against Tottenham (in February),” Rodgers added. “If you want to compete at the top you need quality. Daniel has shown in his time he is a real top talent. “I thought he was outstanding and I was disappointed he didn’t get a hat-trick. “His overall game and touch were outstanding and he had a great combination with Danny Ings. “That is the first time they have started and they showed that understanding that good players have.” While Liverpool are only five points adrift of leaders Manchester United, Villa are stuck in the bottom three. “If you score two at Anfield you expect to take something from the game but we didn’t do that,” said manager Tim Sherwood. “That is a major disappointment but it is something I expected. “It is a young group of players we acquired. The club decided it was the best way to go forward and I am very privileged to have the chance to work with them but it comes with its ups and downs.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claimed there are external forces at work with an agenda against him but he refused to say who he thought was behind it or why. Press Association
Martin O’Neill’s side will have to go without the services of Jonathan Walters, who has been ruled out due to an achilles injury.West Brom’s James McClean is the player most likely to take his place in attack for the crucial game in Bordeaux.After recording a one all draw against Sweden on Monday, Ireland manager Martin O’Neill says mistakes will have to be minimised if they are to prevail against the Belgians today. The match gets underway at 2.00pm.
A management member of the local Black Stars, George Afriyie, says the team is highly motivated to win its opening Africa Nations Championship Group B match against South Africa on Saturday.The 23-man squad led by Herbert Addo, held its first training session Wednesday in Sudan after arriving from Kenya where they camped for close to two weeks preparing for the CHAN tournament which begins on Friday.Ghana, silver medalists at the maiden edition, have targeted the ultimate trophy this year.George Afriyie believes the team will live up to expectation and said winning bonuses have been announced to the players and he is confident that will motivate them to give of their best.Source: Joy Sports/Ghana
On Saturday and Sunday, the Balkans Judo Tournament will be held in Ohrid, Macedonia and two members of Mostar club ‘Borsa’ will compete – Amar and Rijad Maksumić and they’ll present BiH at this competition.Their coach Franjo Zadro also went with them to Ohrid. The competition will host best judokas from Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, BiH and Macedonia.Members of fighting club ‘Borsa’ are also preparing for the competition which will be held in July in Turkey and also for the upcoming European Championship.(hercegovina.info)