Live Coverage: Brendan Rodgers's weekly Liverpool press conference

Liverpool's Northern Irish manager Brendan Rodgers arrives for the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 27, 2014
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Sports Mole brings you live coverage of Brendan Rodgers's pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool's Premier League match against Hull City.

Brendan Rodgers has insisted that Mario Balotelli is working hard in training in his pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool Premier League game against Hull City this weekend.

The Reds host Steve Bruce's side at Anfield on Saturday following their 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Liverpool are fifth in the table ahead of the clash.

Read what else the manager discussed in his press conference:


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1.46pmGood afternoon! Less than 24 hours after Liverpool's 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid, Brendan Rodgers has already switched his focus to Saturday's Premier League match against Hull City. He'll be speaking to the media at the club's Melwood training ground in around 15 minutes.

1.48pmRodgers will not doubt face questions about last night's performance, particularly the lacklustre showing from striker Mario Balotelli.

1.51pmWhile Liverpool currently sit fifth after back-to-back Premier League wins, Hull City have had a decent start to the season themselves. Their 2-2 draw with Arsenal last weekend has left them 11th. Liverpool will need to improve to avoid defeat.

1.54pmWhile striker Daniel Sturridge will miss this match as he continues to recover from a calf injury sustained in training, Rodgers's squad has generally been growing in the last couple of weeks as players return from injury. Emre Can and Glen Johnson have returned to action over the last week or so, while Joe Allen has also been back in the side after picking up a knock earlier this month.

1.58pmLiverpool are actually coming into a fairly gentle run of fixtures in the Premier League, with Chelsea the only side currently above them in the league that they will face between now and December 20. They travel to Newcastle next week, and will play Crystal Palace and Stoke before the end of next month.

2.01pmAs I'm sure you can imagine, there's been plenty of reaction to last night's Champions League match. If you want to catch up an any of the stories following the 3-0 defeat at Anfield, you can find them all here.

2.05pmWhile we're waiting for the manager, we can confirm that Balotelli has been training as normal this morning, despite some pundits speculating that he may have effectively ended his Liverpool career with the shirt-swapping incident last night. Although, with Sturridge still sidelined with injury, Rodgers can't afford to be leaving too many of his attacking players out.

2.08pmSpeaking of training, here's a shot from the team's morning session at Melwood...


2.09pmRight then, Rodgers is in the building and ready to talk, so let's see what he has to say...

2.10pmStraight to the point, Rodgers says on the subject of Balotelli: "Any action would be kept withing ourselves. We've had a conversation, case closed."

2.11pmSticking with Balotelli, the manager adds: "Mario is working hard on the training field. As long as he's doing his beset that's all I can ask for, whether his best will be good enough remains to be seen, but that goes for all the players."

2.13pmRodgers isn't happy about the number of Balotelli questions already, asking reporters: "Is this the Mario Balotelli press conference?"

2.15pmFocusing on the rest of the squad, Rodgers says: "Raheem has played as striker as a youngster so he understands the position well. If we feel it helps the team, I can looks at it. We need to be better as a team, not just the defence. We all pride ourselves on clean sheets."

2.16pmWhen asked about his selection policy, Rodgers reveals: "We select what's the best team to win games. The Mario Balotelli show? He's treated no differently to any player. Mario is treated like any other player. We're very much about the team. My only concentration is on winning games."

2.18pm"Hull are coming here on the back of a good result. Steve Bruce has done well. They are hard to break down. We recognise it's a difficult game for us but Anfield is a special place for us to play and we go into every home game to win. We will look to do that on Saturday."

2.19pmWhen asked about the gap between Liverpool and Real Madrid, Rodgers insists: "I don't believe it's a case of how far we are away [from Real Madrid]. I look at from both perspectives. From how far we've come because two-and-a-half years ago we were a long way away."

2.21pmOn his side's defensive woes, Rodgers admits: "Simple balls into the box we're not defending. We need to reinforce those key principles."

2.23pmOn the possibility of Liverpool progressing to the knockout stage of the Champions League, Rodgers says: "Our objective is to qualify and that's still in our hands. It's probably going to be a fight between the three clubs."

2.24pmRodgers turns his attention to Rickie Lambert, telling the media: "Rickie has always been clear of his position and he knew he would get games and not always be a starter. He's a great guy and he's playing his role in training every day and he will look to impress. He wants to score that first goal for the club."

2.26pmRodgers admits that there is no timescale for Sturridge's return to action, adding: "You take the goal threat out that we had last year and it has an impact. It hasn't been as fluid or as effective but we are trying to master that. When Daniel plays, it gives us that fluidity. We want him to get back as soon as he can."

2.28pmThat's all from the manager this week, so join us again on Saturday to find out if Liverpool can get the win over Hull. Until then, thanks for joining me this afternoon. Goodbye.

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