Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool lacks big-game mentality

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Liverpool’s season will end without a trophy yet again as the Reds fell out of the FA Cup to Aston Villa today.

Manager Brendan Rodgers was bitterly disappointed following the match, saying his side was “second-best” to a Villa team that guaranteed the most recent trophy won by Liverpool would remain the 2012 League Cup.

[ RECAP: Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool ]

The Reds took the lead on a Philippe Coutinho goal, but Villa equalized within seven minutes and Fabian Delph would score the winner for Tim Sherwood’s side in the second half.

Rodgers said Liverpool looked nervous at points, and lacks the big-game mentality necessary to win crucial matches.

We need now to have the courage and bravery to play better in the big games, because we didn’t play well enough today.

We weren’t quite on it. We looked as if maybe the occasion and the energy got to us a bit today, but that’s what can happen with young players.

We have come up short in a few games and it is something we certainly need to improve. We are a team that is growing, but all these experiences will hopefully help.

We had some chances but I thought they were better than us today to be honest.”

After finishing second in the league last year, Liverpool has certainly had a disappointing season. They were bounced from the Champions League in the group stage, sit outside the top four in the Premier League, and have now been eliminated from the FA Cup by a team towards the bottom of the table.

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Rodgers says his side is growing, but at a club like Liverpool, trophies are the goal every season. Without a shot at bringing home any hardware this campaign, the Reds must put all their focus on a top four finish in the league. Liverpool currently sits in fifth place, seven points behind Manchester City but with a game in hand.

With their next three matches against West Bromwich, Hull City and Queens Park Rangers, Liverpool must improve on the performance today and take all nine points to stay in the top-four hunt.