Brendan Rodgers acknowledged it was difficult for his players to pick themselves up following Liverpool's devastating 2-0 loss to Chelsea last week, but he remained optimistic in the Reds' chances of winning the Premier League title in Friday's pre-match presser.
Much had been made about Steven Gerrard's crucial error that led to the Blues' opening goal, and per the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce, the captain wasn't the only one who was hurting:
But great players will gather themselves and continue moving forward, and that is exactly what Rodgers expects Gerrard to do:
Manchester City have the inside track to the Premier League title, and winning their final three games will more or less guarantee the Citizens finish the season at the top of the standings.
Rodgers doesn't think their task against Everton will be an easy one, however, per The Times' Tony Barrett:
Everton have been one of the revelations of the 2013-14 Premier League season, with fresh, attacking football and solid organisation. Despite the well-documented rivalry between the Merseyside teams, the Blues could be one of the biggest factors in Liverpool winning their first English title in 24 years.
Rodgers is well aware of this fact, and he was in no mood to pretend not to be too concerned with the result of the match between Everton and City, as shared by Barrett:
Per the Liverpool Echo's Ian Doyle, the manager emphasised the result of his own team would have to come first:
As shared by This is Anfield, Rodgers seemed happy with the work he has put in over the past two seasons and showed appreciation for the vocal support he has received from the club's fans:
When reporters kept pushing for a quote regarding the loss against Chelsea, the Reds' boss finally gave in. Rodgers confirmed he called Jose Mourinho to congratulate him on the win and even called the Portuguese coach his friend:
Rodgers also took full responsibility for Chelsea's second goal:
As shared by Pearce, Daniel Sturridge is yet to train this week due to a hamstring problem, but he should rejoin the team on Saturday:
Liverpool's title chances took a hit following the loss against Chelsea, and the Reds no longer control their own fate. But City are not yet guaranteed the title, and one poor result for the Citizens would be enough to put Liverpool back in the driver's seat.
The Reds have to focus on winning their own matches, starting with their trip to London to take on Crystal Palace. The hosts have been in fine form in recent weeks and will be looking to continue their excellent run against a Liverpool team that will have no choice but to attack early and often to secure the win.
Regardless of the way the rest of the title race plays out, Rodgers and his young team will be able to look back on an excellent campaign that saw the squad re-establish itself among the elite teams of English football.