BRENDAN RODGERS believes Liverpool FC’s 24-point gap to Manchester United is misleading after his side were narrowly beaten by the Premier League leaders.
Rodgers’s men were made to pay for a dismal first-half performance as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat against their bitter North West rivals at Old Trafford yesterday.
Goals from Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic put United in control before substitute Daniel Sturridge’s 57th-minute strike set up a grandstand finish.
Liverpool, however, couldn’t capitalise on a dominant display in the final quarter to slip further behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s men in the standings.
But Rodgers said: “I thought at the end we deserved something. I am very proud of the fight in the team in the second half.
“We went 2-0 down and when you come here, it's always difficult. Other teams might have crumbled.
“We're 24 points behind United – but we're not 24 points behind quality. The points difference is due to the squad – the depth in the squads is the difference for us.
“Once we close the gap in the squad over these coming windows, I've got great faith we'll be able to challenge. I've seen enough hope in these opening months to suggest we will do that and this was another example of it.”
Nevertheless, Rodgers was unhappy with Liverpool’s showing in the opening 45 minutes and admits his team were overly cautious in their approach despite having won seven of their previous nine games.
“We were disappointed with the first half,” he said. “I thought we were too tentative. There wasn't much in the first half, but any chances they had were through us giving the ball away.
“We wanted to pass the ball, which is great, but it's got to be aggressive. We presented them the ball and three opportunities in the first half just by being a little bit tentative, which you can understand because we had young players playing here. Sometimes that happens.