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Hamann: Rodgers deserves huge credit but it’s Chelsea’s title to lose

The former Liverpool midfielder turned football pundit gives his predictions ahead of the title run-in.

Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have scored the goals to catapult Liverpool into the title race.
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have scored the goals to catapult Liverpool into the title race.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

LIVERPOOL MANAGER BRENDAN Rodgers deserves “huge” credit for the job he has done this season, according to former midfielder Dietmar Hamann.

The Reds currently sit second in the Premier League, trailing leaders Chelsea by seven points — although they have a game in-hand over the Londoners.

Rodgers has frequently played down their chances of a first title in 24 years and pointed to a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League as their main priority.

This weekend throws up another crucial round of fixtures as Liverpool travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United while Arsenal are away to London rivals Spurs, Chelsea travel to Villa Park and Hull host Man City.

“They (Liverpool) have a chance but I wouldn’t have said it at the start of the season,” said Hamann, who won two FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League during his time at the club.

“I always said if they finish in top four they’ll have had a terrific season but now it’s more or less guaranteed as they have a cushion over Spurs and Man United so they can look upwards, not behind them.

“They play Chelsea and City at home so you have to give them a chance the way they score goals and dismantle teams. I still think the other two are more likely winners but with 10 or 11 games to go, you have to give them a chance.

“The manager gets the blame when things don’t go well so they deserve the credit when they do go well. I think he has done a very good job but there is a long way to go.The first step was getting into the Champions League.

“This is where the club should play year in year out but there will be different demands next year as a lot of the players wont have played in the Champions League for four or five years.”

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Hamann Fowler McAteer Jason McAteer, Robbie Fowler and Hamann in Dublin yesterday. Source: Jason Clarke Photography

When pushed to predict who will be crowned champions come May, however, Hamann backed Jose Mourinho men’s to prevail.

“If you ask me last week I would have said City, now I say Chelsea,” revealed the ex-German international. ” Next week it might be Liverpool!

“You can’t rule Liverpool out but it’s not the team that scores the most usually it’s the one that concedes the least. There’s only Chelsea because they don’t score an awful lot. At the moment they only need to score one to win games because they have got a mean defence and they’ve got the mentality.

“Last year they proved how strong they are. They played seventy-odd games and from Christmas onwards they played every three days. They ended up finishing third and winning the Europa League. This is a tough, tough bunch.

“Once they’ve got a sniff of winning something, they’re like a hungry dog. They won’t let go.”

“A lot of them won the Champions League, a lot won the Premier League and some of them it might be their last chance to win the league. I’d sway towards Chelsea now.”

Carlsberg gives fans the chance to JOIN THE GREATS and play at Anfield with their mates. The competition is strictly over 18′s only and runs from March 13th until the closing date of April 20th and can be won by purchasing Carlsberg in participating pubs and off licences, entering via Carlsberg Football’s Facebook page or listening into Newstalk during April for a further opportunity to win the prize.

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Ben Blake

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