Liverpool fans' backing key to turning around form, Brendan Rodgers says
Agence France-Presse in Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool will end their Anfield agony, as long as the club's supporters do not turn on the Reds boss and his struggling side.
Rodgers has yet to oversee a Premier League home win in four attempts since taking charge of Liverpool in the close season, and the Reds' barren run in front of their own fans stretched to six matches in all competitions after Sunday's 0-0 draw with Stoke.
The hosts hit the woodwork three times but were unable to break down Stoke's stubborn defence, and Rodgers' side remain in 14th place after just one win in their first seven league matches. Liverpool, whose only home success under Rodgers came in a Europa League clash with Gomel of Belarus, are already eight points off the top four - and more worryingly for their manager, only three points above the relegation zone.
So far, Liverpool's fans have remained supportive of Rodgers and his players despite their struggles on home turf, and the former Swansea manager believes that backing is essential to end their struggles.
"This is a club that has won only two Premier League games at Anfield in this calendar year," he said. "It has been nearly a year since the club has won consecutive Premier League games, so to still get the backing of the supporters with that type of record, there's not many clubs would give that.
"The players gave the club everything [against Stoke], and there should be a big appreciation of the supporters," said the Northern Irish coach. "There were a lot of real positives and it was our first clean sheet of the season, which is important."
Rodgers admitted to being frustrated by the result, but he was full of praise for his players for standing up to a very physical Stoke side.
Liverpool included three youngsters in their starting line-up, and Rodgers expects the experience of taking on a bruising outfit like Stoke will speed the development of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso.
"They are a bunch of big men who make it difficult for you, and there is no right or wrong way to play football. What I was proud of is our young guys stood up to that," Rodgers said.
"I am obviously disappointed we didn't win the game, but I thought the attitude and application of the players was terrific.
"There were a lot of real positives from the game and our first clean sheet, which is important," he reiterated.