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GUARDIAN – FA Cup semi-final: Liverpool hardened by recent misery, says Brendan Rodgers

• Manager is chasing the first trophy of his Anfield reign• Steven Gerrard available to face Aston Villa at Wembley• Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard sent off after 38 seconds against Manchester UnitedBrendan Rodgers believes the misery of recent near misses in the Premier League and Capital One Cup can help Liverpool “step on” and avoid an unwanted hat-trick in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Aston Villa.The Liverpool manager made the first trophy of his Anfield reign a priority from the outset of this season and enters a second semi-final of the campaign 25 points above Tim Sherwood’s team in the Premier League. Having suffered a late collapse in last season’s title race and fallen short against Chelsea in January’s Capital One Cup semi-final, Liverpool know their winning mentality is under scrutiny. But Rodgers is adamant those painful experiences will harden his players to the task of reaching the 30 May final. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Brendan Rodgers: Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe will learn from mistakes

• Liverpool manager defends players after use of shisha pipe and laughing gas• Rodgers: ‘If you look at Raheem, he didn’t do anything illegal’• ‘He will look back and think it wasn’t the wisest thing to do’• Sterling and Ibe warned over future conduct by managerLiverpool manager Brendan Rodgers called for a sense of perspective after a week when young players Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe were splashed all over the front pages for off-field activities.Pictures, dating back some months, emerged of the pair smoking a shisha pipe and came on the back of a video apparently showing Sterling inhaling laughing gas and seemingly passing out. Continue reading…

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