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Rodgers prepared to be patient

30 December 2012-PA Sport

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits investing in youth can have its drawbacks, but remains confident it is the right thing to do.

The Reds boss criticised his players for not showing enough steel in the 3-1 Boxing Day defeat at Stoke City.

However, he excused the likes of Suso and Jonjo Shelvey, who both started at the Britannia Stadium, and substitutes Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson.

"If you have a lot of experienced players they have that experience which carries them through," he said.

"But we have a lot of young players in the group and what everyone will tell you is with young players you get inconsistency.

"That has been the highlight for me in terms of the area we need to improve on.

"But the only way they get that experience is by throwing them in and sending them out there.

"Suso will have benefited from 45 minutes away at Stoke. He'll be a better player for it and that will help us going forward.

"I can't be critical of the young players, it is something that is natural at a football club and as a manager I expect it.

"That is something you have to deal with and grow from.

"Our young players will become better players, but what we need to ensure is that we can improve both senior and youth players.

"But it is also about the types of characters in the group, because if you have the right characters then you can have more efficiency on a regular basis and that is what we are striving for.

"We just have to keep moving on, look to learn where you can from the game and you go into the next game with renewed desire."

Despite the defeat at Stoke prompting more unwelcome headlines for the club, Rodgers is adamant the current situation can be rectified with a couple of wins.

It heads to struggling Queens Park Rangers on Sunday afternoon (Monday morning AEDT) and then hosts Sunderland on Wednesday evening (Thursday morning AEDT) and six points would help put things back on track.

"We've got two good games coming up and if we can win both of them that will be three wins out of our four matches over the Christmas period and it's all quite nice again," he added.

"But it is all about the QPR game and having that killer instinct."

Defeat at Stoke has left Rodgers with the same league record as the maligned Roy Hodgson, 25 points from 19 matches.

While Hodgson did not make it past 20 league matches before he was sacked Rodgers is under no such pressure, especially as he has the supporters on his side for the time being.

"My message to the fans is just stay with us and keep that courage they have shown all season," he added.

"Their support throughout this period has been incredible and it can't be easy for them after what this club has won over many years.

"This is a different era and a different operation in terms of where the club is at.

"What we hope to do, because we don't have the big finances to splash out like other clubs, is go about a process which gets you back there rather than something instant.

"The fans can't do any more, it is up to the players and us as a club to carry on giving them something to cheer on the field."

Liverpool heads to struggling QPR looking to bounce back immediately, although Rodgers admits it will not be an easy ride.

"In Harry (Redknapp) they've got no greater man to go in there and rescue them from where they're at," he said.

"He went into Tottenham in a situation that was difficult and did a brilliant job over a number of years there.

"He's gone in, he knows what he wants and I'm sure January probably can't come quickly enough for him.

"We understand it will be a difficult game, but we're really focused on this period of games because we know it's important for us.

"We had a terrific result and performance against Fulham. We were disappointing the other night, but you've got to bounce back and that's what we'll look to do at the weekend.

"It's the type of league where somebody sitting at the bottom of the table isn't going to be an easy game.

"It'll be a tough match for us, but our focus is on our own game - and we know if we can bring our 'A Game' into most games then we've got a great chance of winning."

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