Nothing will pip Swansea play-off for Rodgers

LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers knows his reign will be judged on trophies but even if he reaches the FA Cup final he claims it will not be the biggest game of his career.

Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers. Picture: TSPL

The Reds face Aston Villa at Wembley today looking to reach their first final since 2012 when they won the League Cup but lost the FA Cup to Chelsea.

However, Rodgers, pictured, insists he has already managed in the biggest game of his career so anything else will not faze him.

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“Swansea’s play-off final was the biggest game for me and always will be so it is not about pipping it – it would be exactly the same if we were to get to a Champions League final,” said Rodgers of his success with the south Wales club in 2011.

“I’d only been a manager a short time and I will always say it was my biggest game because it is a life-changing game.

“There are more prestigious games in football in terms of trophies but the play-off final, in terms of career and life and where it projects you to, is a big game. That will always be the biggest in my career but this game will be something different.

“We want to send the supporters home happy after arriving in another final. To win a trophy here with Liverpool is something very important.”

Liverpool narrowly missed out on another League Cup final after losing to eventual winners Chelsea in a two-legged semi-final in January. Rodgers hopes that experience will have helped his players as they look to book their return to Wembley on what will be captain Steven Gerrard’s birthday and what would be his final appearance for the club before he leaves for Los Angeles Galaxy.

“The players performed very well under pressure over the two games and we were unfortunate not to make the final,” he added. “What we have learned is that we want to play well and win.

“You really have to seize the moment. It’s not a final, but it’s a semi-final with an opportunity to come back. It is games like that where you write your name in the stars as a player, the big games.”

One of Liverpool’s star players over the years has been Gerrard. But Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is, unsurprisingly, not too fussed about seeing the midfielder enjoy a fairytale farewell.

“Believe it or not it’s not about spoiling the party for Steven Gerrard,” said Sherwood. “It’s about what we can do and to be honest we’re hoping that he’s on his holiday in May.”