Brendan Rodgers did not dwell on a narrow victory over Sunderland for long before turning his thoughts to the challenge of extending Liverpool's winning streak at the weekend and beyond.

The Reds clocked up a seventh straight Barclays Premier League win at Anfield on Wednesday night, emerging successful from a battle with the Black Cats to leapfrog Manchester City into second place.

Steven Gerrard had opened the scoring six minutes before half-time, a lead which was doubled by a deflected effort from Daniel Sturridge within moments of the action resuming in L4.

A back-post Ki Sung-Yeung header caused concern among Kopites during a tense quarter-hour before the final whistle, but stubborn defending secured another crucial three points.

Rodgers reflected post-match: "It was a game in which we were the dominant team, but no matter how dominant you are, when it gets to 2-1 it's always going to be tight for the last 10 minutes or so.

"I thought we showed great character and we certainly deserved to win the game.

"It was always going to be difficult because Sunderland came with a 3-5-2 and sat in with a block of three centre-halves, two wing-backs tucked in, two defensive midfielders and the goalkeeper, so we found it difficult to penetrate that eight in the opening period.

"Once we got the goal, the fluency of the game was good for us and at 2-0 we looked like we were going to go on and score more goals. But poor defending at a corner when we switched off at the back post and, all of a sudden, Sunderland have some oxygen.

"Credit to them, they kept fighting because they're in a difficult position, but it showed the character of our team to stay with it, showed a winning mentality and finished with another great victory.

"I think the whole perception of Liverpool is that we're going to get three, four, five or six goals every game, which is wonderful, but we knew this was a game we were going to have to be patient in and show calmness.

"To get the win, and seven wins on the spin now at this level in the Barclays Premier League, is a huge credit to the players and also to the supporters tonight."

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A 21st win of the Premier League season brought Rodgers' side within one point of current pace-setters Chelsea, with the Londoners still to journey to Merseyside before 2013-14 concludes.

The Northern Irishman reiterated his constant message of recent weeks - for the players to remain calm - but took a moment to congratulate the squad for their septet of triumphs since February 8.

"We keep looking in front, that's always been the mantra for us," he continued. "Rather than looking behind, we're always looking ahead of us. There aren't too many ahead of us now.

"We've just got to keep working well and stay calm. We're one point behind Chelsea now, having played the same games; we've still got to play them here.

"More importantly, we just now recover and look to our next game. We just keep chalking up the wins - seven wins in a row, which is incredible at this level with teams so competitive. We'll aim to keep that going at the weekend.

"For us, there's probably not the expectancy, certainly this year. People probably looked at us and thought we would tail off.

"Looking at Manchester City and the squad that they have and the money they are spending, there is expectancy there. Chelsea, probably likewise because they have been dominant over a number of years.

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"The pressure will be there, but for us the pressure is for ourselves, because we're Liverpool - one of the biggest football clubs in the world. We want to represent the club, we want to be winners.

"Thankfully, I think we're on that path. I felt in the second part of the season, we would become stronger because of the nature of our game; the nature of our game is to get on the ball, to play, to pass and to move.

"Tonight, there were long spells where we were very good at that. As the season goes on, we'll embrace that pressure and enjoy it.

"I think it's just reinforcing about the calmness. We reinforce to the players to dominate the ball. We've had a wonderful season up until now, but there's still a way to go.

"The message to the supporters is just to keep believing in what we're doing, which they have done. They've seen the methods develop over the last 18 months, and our idea is to stay calm under pressure."


Sturridge's conversion three minutes into the second period racked up a 20th Premier League strike for the prolific England international in this campaign and his 34th in total for the Reds.

The effort also made history; the No.15 reached 30 league goals for the club in just his 37th appearance - the quickest run any Liverpool player has achieved since the 1890s.

Rodgers commented: "It's a wonderful achievement by Daniel. Since he has come in here, he has been exceptional.

"He probably wasn't at the top of his game tonight; I spoke to him at half-time on one or two elements. It was nice that he came out and got his goal. He's been brilliant.

"Him and Luis, I don't see them as a pair. I know there is a lot written and said about them as a partnership, but I don't see them as that. They are both soloists. They have different qualities.

"They play in the same area of the team and look to combine, but both of them offer different qualities to the team. Long may it continue. Hopefully they can continue to score goals."