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Brendan Rodgers backs Liverpool to bounce back from Besiktas

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Brendan Rodgers believes that being knocked out of the Europa League will not stop Liverpool from continuing their momentum built in recent weeks.

The Reds lost to Besiktas on penalties in the last 32 of the Europa League after drawing 1-1 on aggregate over two legs.

Liverpool host Manchester City on Sunday and a win for Rodgers' side could see them move into the fourth place if both Manchester United and Southampton are defeated at the weekend.

Rodgers has constantly said how he wants to end the season with a piece of silverware but that chance has been seriously dented after crashing out of the European competition earlier this week.

“Going out was a disappointment because we were looking to get through but you can’t afford to dwell on it"

However, Liverpool are still seriously gunning a Champions League place for next campaign and although the Northern Irishman acknowledges that preparations for Sunday's game against the Premier League holders are not ideal, he is hopeful his side can pick up three points.

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“Going out was a disappointment because we were looking to get through but you can’t afford to dwell on it,” Rodgers said during his pre-match press conference.

“That is one of the reasons I think we do well as we move on. This phase of the season is very much a psychological aspect as well as physical so I just try to prepare the players mentally for this period when you are coming into the business end, looking to win games and become stronger.

“They will gain from the experience. They will be disappointed having lost the tie but we have gained from it.

“The team is working very well and we will have some key players back for the weekend. Friday was about rest and then Saturday we have time to prepare and train. Then we will go again.

"It’s not ideal when you play that length of time and you don’t go through.

“Psychologically, it’s tough but it is what it is. We gave it everything that we had. Now we just have to refocus. We still have a great chance to achieve what we want to achieve this year.

“It was always going to be a long, drawn out competition but we respected it and gave it everything. We have gained, not in terms of the result, but the young players won’t play in too many more intimidating atmospheres than that."

Massive Game

Liverpool's loss to Besiktas was just their second in 18 games and head into Sunday's tie in fantastic form.

The Reds currently top the Premier League form table with 16 points from their last six matches, most recently defeating Southampton 2-0 at St. Mary's.

The Merseyside club sit in sixth place in the top-flight, just two points behind Manchester United in fourth and one behind Southampton who are sandwiched between the two.

Manchester City have been boosted by the return of Yaya Toure from the African Cup of Nations and he proved his credentials during his side's 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle United last weekend.

A win against the Citizens could be the deal-breaker for Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League next season. With Manchester United and the Saints still to play Manuel Pellegrini's men, a win for Liverpool and a loss for the other two could be the final factor for competing in Europe's elite competition.

Fitness Boost

Rodgers travelled to Istanbul with a squad that was well below par.

Philippe Coutinho was tested for the clash, however, will likely be back in Liverpool's starting line-up for Sunday's game.

Likewise, Jordan Henderson and Mamadou Sakho did not travel due to injury however they are both expected to pass fitness tests and will be a massive boost.

Lazar Markovic too missed Thursday's game due to suspension but will once again be eligible. 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Europa League

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