Liverpool are feeling no pressure despite being three games away from the club’s first English league championship in 24 years, manager Brendan Rodgers said on Friday.
Five points ahead of Sunday’s visitors Chelsea and six clear of Manchester City, who have played one game fewer, Liverpool are hot favourites to win the Premier League for the first time, after finishing only seventh last season.
“People talk about pressure but it’s absolutely wonderful,” Rodgers told reporters.
“I haven’t slept better. It’s why we work, and whatever happens we’ll have had a brilliant season.”
Having beaten City 3-2 a fortnight ago, Liverpool have now been helped by Chelsea having to contend with two Champions League semi-final matches and threatening to field a weakened side at Anfield.
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Rodgers sympathises, saying that City suffered when they had to play four days after the Liverpool defeat and could only draw with bottom club Sunderland.
“There is a cost if Chelsea play the same team on Sunday and Wednesday,” he said.
“You saw that with Manchester City. On the Wednesday they played Sunderland and had a real cost. Jose won’t want to go down that route.”
Rodgers, a former Chelsea coach who worked under Mourinho at the club, nevertheless added that it would be “hugely disrespectful” to any players brought in who were deemed to be weaker ones.
“Chelsea are an outstanding team with lots of good players and a world-class manager,” he said. “Whatever team they put out will be more experienced than ours. Jose is a winner who won’t give up (on the title).
“We know it’s a significant game yet again but if you look over the course of the games and our last 11, there’s been lots of significant games in there that we’ve won. It’s another big hurdle for us but it’s what it is, it’s the three points at the end of it.”
Liverpool will assess the fitness of former Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge over the weekend. He suffered a hamstring strain against City and missed the last game at Norwich, in which Liverpool recorded their 11th successive win, scoring 38 goals in the process.