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Rodgers: I should have changed Liverpool system earlier

Rodgers celebrates his side's win over Manchester City. Credit: PA

Brendan Rodgers admits Liverpool's defeat to Crystal Palace in November convinced him to change tactics to overcome the Reds' indifferent start of the season.

Liverpool made a stuttering to start to the 2014-15 campaign - losing three of their first five Barclays Premier League matches and seven of their 19 league fixtures before the turn of the year - but have recovered to remain in the hunt for a place in next year's Champions League competition.

The Reds have been in fine form since Christmas, having not lost in the league in 2015, and are just two points behind fourth-placed Manchester United and only three adrift of third-placed Arsenal.

I needed to make decisions that would allow us to get back to somewhere near what we had been and the transformation of the team, with everyone talking about the system and how dynamic it is, has been good to see. I should have done it earlier.

After that Palace game I felt that it doesn't matter how much support you have, the team is not functioning and it could not go on really," the former Watford, Reading and Swansea manager told the Guardian.

But I certainly wasn't going to roll over and die. I will always fight for my life. I love it here and I want to be successful here.

– Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

Van Gaal agrees Man Utd must cut down back-passes

Van Gaal's tactics have come under the spotlight. Credit: PA

Manchester United may have only lost twice in 21 matches but some fans have been voicing their concerns over the style of their play.

During the 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday, United fans booed when Jonny Evans played the ball back to goalkeeper David de Gea.

Van Gaal understands the supporters' frustrations but insists passing back to the goalkeeper is sometimes not the worst option for a defender.

"You have to give credit of your doubt to your player and you have to support him," Van Gaal said.

"When you make a mistake in defence it is more or less always a goal against. You have to see that also, the fans have to see that.

"But I agree with the fans that we don't have to use so much the goalkeeper, because I have seen also moments where we can play a higher tempo without interfering with the goalkeeper, but the goalkeeper is also the 11th player."

Arsenal boss surprised by Coquelin's form

Coquelin has established himself as a regular for Arsenal. Credit: PA

Arsene Wenger admits Francis Coquelin's emergence as a regular in the Arsenal midfield has surprised even himself after he was set to allow the Frenchman to leave the club.

It is a surprise to everybody. The only thing I do is that I never say never to anybody. In my job you have to be open-minded like that. You have to make decisions at times but never close the door completely for anybody.

He knows it's an opportunity for him. Sometimes when you wait for such a long time to get your chance and you get it, the more you have suffered before. The human being is a strange animal.

If he didn't play at Christmas at all, and there's only six months contract to go, I (would have) let him go somewhere else. For him to get an extension of the contract you let the boy go, you don't leave him completely out of the squad for six more months.

– Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.


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