Brendan Rodgers says Liverpool lack big-game mentality

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Reaction from Wembley as Aston Villa produced a stunning fightback to beat Liverpool 2-1

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side lack a big-game mentality after their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Aston Villa.

Rodgers’ side, who also suffered defeat in this year’s Capital One Cup semi-final, took the lead through Phillippe Coutinho’s first-half strike but struggled to cope with an Aston Villa side who sit 15th in the Premier League.

Villa equalised through Christian Benteke before the break and the comeback was complete in the 54th minute when Fabian Delph fired past Simon Mignolet to book his side’s place in the final against Arsenal.

Philippe Coutinho opens the scoring against Aston Villa
Image: Philippe Coutinho opens the scoring against Aston Villa

And Rodgers admitted Liverpool need to play much better when the pressure is on.

"We need now to have the courage and bravery to play better in the big games, because we didn't play well enough today," he said.

"We weren't quite on it. We looked as if maybe the occasion and the energy got to us a bit today, but that's what can happen with young players.

"We have come up short in a few games and it is something we certainly need to improve. We are a team that is growing, but all these experiences will hopefully help.

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"We're obviously bitterly disappointed but more with the performance. You can always lose a game but you need to play well and give yourself an opportunity.

"We had some chances but I thought they were better than us today to be honest."

Rodgers continued: "Sometimes you can want to win too much. The focus comes away from what allows you to win."

Defeat at Wembley also meant Steven Gerrard will not end his Liverpool career by lifting the FA Cup before jets off to LA Galaxy in the close season.

Steven Gerrard
Image: Steven Gerrard played the full game against Aston Villa

Restored to the starting line-up after serving a three-match suspension, he could have been his side’s saviour again in the dying stages but his header was cleared off the line by Kieran Richardson.

And Rodgers was full of praise for his captain, claiming his performance was excellent.

"Is it a shame? Absolutely," Rodgers added. "I think he was doing everything he possibly could today to help the team.

"I thought he was excellent, collectively we did not perform well enough."

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