Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said he will persist with a pragmatic approach when the Merseysiders travel to Premier League strugglers Leicester on Tuesday.
The Reds challenged for the title last season with an enthralling attacking style which saw them score 101 goals and finish just two points behind champions Manchester City.
However, following the sale of striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona in the close season and Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems, Liverpool have failed to recapture that form this term.
After a run of three league defeats, Rodgers adopted a more disciplined and defensive game against Stoke City at the weekend and saw his side grind out a 1-0 win.
And, ahead of the clash with Leicester, Rodgers said he planned to stick with a more conservative style for the time being.
“We’ve had a lot of changes, we have a lot of different players and we are dealing with a different set of cards,” Rodgers said.
“You have to deal with what you’ve got. The flowing football will come but first we’ve got to get our confidence back into the team.
“We felt in the game against Stoke we were back to being competitive again. You have got to earn the right to win a game of football,” the Northern Irish manager added.
“The minimum requirement is the ability to compete and that, for some reason, has gone out of our game. But we know have the players understanding how to compete in the team.”
Liverpool earned that victory over Stoke thanks to a stooping header from Glen Johnson, who received a painful boot to the temple in his determination to get the vital touch.
Rodgers insisted that level of commitment needed to be shown throughout his squad whenever they play.
“You have got to put your body on the line,” added the Reds boss.
“You’re not just representing yourself here, you are representing the supporters who are used to success and challenging.
“That has been our success — our workrate, courage and desire,” he explained.
Liverpool will check on the fitness of Italy striker Mario Balotelli after he missed the win over the Potters with a groin complaint.
Rodgers will also decide whether to restore captain Steven Gerrard to the starting line-up against Leicester after leaving the 34-year-old midfielder on the bench against Stoke.
– Tough league –
Nigel Pearson has told his Leicester players they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves if they want to end their poor run of form.
Leicester are in the midst of an eight-game winless spell and have now dropped to the bottom of the Premier League table.
The Foxes face Liverpool fresh from Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at fellow strugglers QPR, where ending their eight-hour goal drought counted for little.
“Of course the players will be beating themselves up a bit,” said Leicester manager Pearson.
“But you can’t dwell or do that. I’m certainly not going to be downbeat.
“It remains a tough league at the moment but I’ve got a lot of belief in the players.
“We’ll get ourselves going again and get our preparation right for our next game.”
Pearson is expected to reshuffle his pack with the out-of-form Leonardo Ulloa, Leicester’s £8 million ($13 million, 10 million euros) record signing, expected to be among the fall guys.
“The Premier League has evolved over a long period of time and it remains very hard to be successful,” added Pearson.
“For sides like ourselves it is frustrating at the moment. But I still feel we’ve got players who are able to adapt.” – Agence France-Presse