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Liverpool moving in the right direction, says Brendan Rodgers

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Brendan Rodgers has said that Liverpool's performance against Arsenal on Sunday was a step forward for his side and that they played a style that has "been missing for most of the season."

The Reds needed a Martin Skrtel injury time goal to salvage a 2-2 draw with the North London club at the weekend, with the Slovakian meeting Adam Lallana's corner in the 97th minute with a powerful header that Wojciech Szczesny helpless.

However, Rodgers' men deserved much for from the game than just a point, as they dominated both possession and missed a number of chances on goal.

Despite not picking up three points, the performance was much improved from their dismal start to the Premier League this season and the Northern Irishman believes his side can build on the effort against the Gunners.

"Some of our play in the first half - the movement and passing, but more importantly the pressure and intensity - really rewound us back to what we have been for a couple of years and what has been missing for a big part of this season," he told the club's official website

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"So I was particularly pleased with that. I'm disappointed with the two goals we conceded; we restricted them to three shots on target.

"We had 27 shots on goal, so from a creative point of view it looked fantastic. We needed the point at the end because the performance was very good."

"The character the players showed in the second half, and the quality of their game, was outstanding.

"It's one defeat in eight, which shows that we're moving in the right direction after a really difficult start. If we play how we have done in the two previous years I've been here, we know we'll get better as the season goes on."

Positive Football

What has been missing from Anfield this term is the intense, quick play that was present last campaign. The Reds just missed out on the league title because they were stunning side's with their style, rapidly moving the ball and hitting on the counter-attack.

For the most part of this season, Mario Balotelli has lead the Liverpool front-line, however he slows his team's play down significantly. The Italian likes the ball into his feet and does not often move off the ball into space, which has had a negative impression on his team-mates.

Rodgers has recently given Raheem Sterling the responsibility of playing up-top along with starting with just three defenders and playing a more attacking formation.

Sterling's pace and movement creates hole's in the oppositions defence that others can run into. Three at the back too brings a more attacking approach to the side, instead of a flat back-four with a defensive-midfielder in front.

Best Performance To Date

Arguably, the five-time European Cup winners' performance against Arsene Wenger's outfit was their best this season. Philippe Coutinho was magical last season for the Reds, but he's been way off form this term and struggled to maintain a place in the starting line-up. 

However, on Sunday he looked well back to his best. The Brazilian thrives off movement ahead of him, so either he can use his quick feet to go past defenders or threat an inch-perfect through. Movement ahead allowed the ex-Inter Milan to manoeuvre the ball and get a strike off for his opening goal and he continued to do so throughout the 90 minutes.

Lazar Markovic suffered plenty of criticism early in the season, but his performance has left Kopites crying out for more appearances for the 20-year-old and Adam Lallana is too showing his class more and more.

Build Momentum

It's now important for Liverpool to carry on their good form into the Christmas period. They next face Burnley on Boxing Day at Turf Moor and despite the Clarets sitting in the relegation zone, they've lost just two of their last seven games and beat Southampton two matches ago.

If Champions League football is a serious aim for Rodgers, his side have to go on a long, unbeaten streak picking up maximum points against weaker opposition. The Reds have already lost seven games this season in the top flight, one more than the whole of last year, and are currently nine points adrift of West Ham United in fourth place. 

The Premier League table is wide open at the minute and the festive break can offer see team's rise quickly or fall even quicker. Liverpool have to pick up maximum points against Burnley, Swansea City and Leicester City if they are to qualify for Europe's elite competition for the second season in a row, which will see the club continue to attract top players.

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Topics:
Liverpool
Arsenal
Premier League
Football
Brendan Rodgers

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