Rodgers frustrated by Liverpool inconsistency
Liverpool boss rues loss of soft goals after Stoke extend unbeaten run to nine games
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wants his side to show some consistency if they are going to challenge for the top four in the Premier League.
The Reds suffered a 3-1 defeat by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium as Jonathan Walters scored twice either side of Kenwyne Jones' effort to overturn Steven Gerrard's early penalty - awarded for a foul on Luis Suarez - for the visitors.
Stoke's unbeaten run is now extended to nine games - their best in the Premier League - while Liverpool failed to build on Saturday's 4-0 win over Fulham.
"We conceded soft goals after a great start - a bit of magic by Luis earned us our first penalty of the season," said Rodgers.
"We were 1-0 up at a place where it's difficult to score goals. We needed to gain the initiative. But as it was it was always going to be an uphill task.
"Our inconsistency is the biggest thing. We were terrific against Fulham, but you have to put a run together, otherwise you're taking two steps forward and one back.
"You have to earn the right to play, especially at Stoke, when you know you'll get pressed. We have to find it, or we'll never progress. This was just too easy."
Suarez was booed when the announcer at the Britannia Stadium read out his name before the game as the Stoke fans did not forget the dive the Uruguayan pulled off at Anfield in the clubs' October meeting.
While Suarez did not get anything for that then, Stoke manager Tony Pulis was still livid he was not punished for simulation. But it was hard to argue against Howard Webb's decision to award Liverpool a penalty in the second minute of this clash.
Ryan Shawcross tugged Suarez's shirt in the area and the Reds striker went down before Gerrard calmly slotted home the penalty.
"For the penalty, Shawcross got caught a bit square and flat. He was caught out, Suarez did brilliantly," said Pulis.
However, just three minutes later Shawcross helped Stoke draw level as Jones nodded on to Walters and the Republic of Ireland international raced through before firing home.
Jones then made it three goals in 12 minutes as the Stoke striker rose to head home Glenn Whelan's corner above Daniel Agger.
Andy Wilkinson's long throw in the 49th minute helped make it 3-1 as he found Jones who nodded on again for Walters.
"Walters epitomises everything we do at this club. His atttude and commitment is fabulous," said Pulis.