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James warns 'naive' Rodgers that defence must improve

James warns 'naive' Rodgers that defence must improve

The former Anfield shot-stopper believes that the Reds must focus on their frailties at the back if they are to harbour any real hopes of challenging for the title this season

Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James urged Brendan Rodgers to be more defensive this season if he wants to win the Premier League.

Liverpool came within two points of winning their maiden Premier League title last season but James believes Rodgers - the Merseyside club's manager - was "a little bit naive" with his focus on attacking football.

With Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge scoring 52 times between them, Liverpool finished with 101 goals for the season, just one less than champions Manchester City.

But James - who played 214 league games for Liverpool between 1992 and 1999 - claimed on Saturday that Rodgers must improve his team's defence, especially with Suarez having left for Barcelona.

Liverpool conceded 50 goals last term, 13 more than City, and worse than seven other clubs, including 11th-placed Crystal Palace, who only let in 48.

"It was a little bit naive [last season], and I think Brendan Rodgers might think 'now we don't have the goal threat of Suarez, we have to be a little more defensive on occasions'," James told the Mirror.

"That might be going against the grain slightly with Brendan, because his ­managerial history dictates his teams will score a lot of goals but they also concede loads of goals.

"Somewhere, something's got to change."

Liverpool have not won a league title since the 1989-90 season and, after leading the Anfield outfit to their fourth second-place finish since they last tasted success in England's top tier, Rodgers has increased the pressure on himself, according to James.

"To finish second was good, better than I anticipated, but there's room for ­improvement," the 44-year-old said.

"Of course the pressure's on him – it's Liverpool. For a side that's never won the Premier's 24 years now. That's older than most of my children!

"For a side that's not won the league for so long to still have this almost ­disproportionate ­representation of support around the world, for an unsuccessful league side, it has to be pressure year after year."

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