Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers feels that his side needs to improve on their defence if they are to count themselves as Champions League contenders, following a 3-1 loss at Southampton on Saturday.
The Merseyside club were rocked by relegation-threatened Saints, as Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez engineered a crucial win for the home team in their bid to survive in the English top-flight.
However, the defeat for the Reds quashed their top-four aspirations as wins for Arsenal and Chelsea at the weekend virtually ruled them out of the race.
Liverpool put up a mediocre display in the first half on Saturday and were on the ropes right from the start, struggling against constant pressing from the Saints defenders.
Their defence also buckled under pressure, conceding two goals within the first 33 minutes and failed to halt a sparkling run from Rodriguez who simply ran through the entire defence single-handedly to score the third goal and kill off the game.
And Rodgers feels that his side needs to improve on the defensive front if they are to launch a major top-four bid next season.
He told the reporters: “We just weren't very good. We only started playing when we were 2-0 down. We didn't defend well enough and you have to give credit to Southampton, who played very well.
"When the team starts as it has done, it is always difficult. There's no question that [defence] is an area of the field we need to be better at. That is one of the reasons we brought Carragher back. I know it is one area we need to improve and develop as a group.
“We were unfortunate this week that a few of the players had niggles and missed training, like Lucas, who came on in the second half was excellent."
Liverpool went into the game on Saturday riding on a four-match unbeaten streak and brimming with confidence after edging Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in a riveting clash at Anfield.
But Rodgers said that the loss to Saints was a ‘reminder’ of the amount of work that still needed to be done before they can count themselves as serious top-four chasers.
He continued by saying: “Today is a reminder that we still need to build a squad and need to improve. The players can't be brilliant every time they play. There are eight games left and we just have to concentrate on ourselves."
Liverpool will next visit Aston Villa on the 31st of March after a two-week international break.
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