Liverpool boss: "Clean sheets are always attributed to goalkeepers and defenders but it is the team"
Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool are reaping the benefits of defending from the front as they look to extend their mean streak.
The Anfield outfit are the only team in English football yet to concede a league goal after opening the campaign with three consecutive 1-0 victories.
Rodgers’s side will look to maintain their 100% start to the season when they visit his former club Swansea City tonight, although a point will take them back to the top of the Premier League.
But the Northern Irishman claims the defence should not take all the credit for a run that has seen Liverpool keep clean sheets in eight of their last 10 top-flight outings.
“Those statistics are a big tribute to how hard the team is working,” said Rodgers. “Clean sheets are always attributed to goalkeepers and defenders, but it is the team.
“We press from the front: either a full-length press, a three-quarter press or a half-pitch press and an opposition side will have to work very hard to get through to the back four.
“That is something we have worked very hard on, particularly in pre-season. The players are fit, they are in good condition and that helps their concentration.
“There is no way you can concentrate for the duration of the game otherwise.”
Rodgers subsequently strengthened his centre-back options on transfer deadline day a fortnight ago with the £18million signing of Paris Saint-Germain’s French international Mamadou Sakho and a £7m deal for Sporting Lisbon youngster Tiago Ilori.
Rodgers faces a selection poser with Kolo Toure back available having missed the win over Manchester United in Liverpool’s last outing, with the Ivorian’s replacement Martin Skrtel delivering a man-of-the-match performance.
With Glen Johnson sidelined for at least the next five weeks with an ankle injury, Sakho or young Andre Wisdom could play right-back unless Rodgers opts for a three-man back line.
And of the competition at the heart of defence, the manager said: “I think it is up to them really, they have come in and have the choice. They have come to a big club.
“It is a nice problem to have, I would rather have this problem than a lack of talent to look at. It just keeps everyone on their toes.”
Explaining the double deadline day swoop, Rodgers added: “I wanted to try and protect the present and the future of the club.
“Centre-halves are so hard to find. You look at some teams and they have ageing centre-halves because it is a struggle to get a really good one.
“We were fortunate in that two became available, one that we had been tracking for a year in Tiago Ilori, a young talent but who can be a big talent.
“He is 6ft 3ins, super quick, power, can jump, and he just needs to adapt to the pace and physicality of the Premier League. He is one for the future, but he can be a really big talent.
“Sakho is 23 but he is an experienced player, he has senior international caps and looks an absolute monster in training and is one who is ready for now and that is what we want.
“We had a chance to do that and protect the club for maybe the next 10 years and that is what we have done.”
Liverpool are confident Daniel Sturridge will have overcome the thigh problem that forced him out of England’s World Cup qualifying double header against Moldova and Ukraine last week.
Victor Moses, signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea, is also expected to feature in the 18.
Steven Gerrard will skipper Liverpool for the 400th time.