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Friday, November 23, 2012
Shelvey calls for more focus

Mike Whalley

Jonjo Shelvey has warned that Liverpool must cut out the lapses in concentration if they are to extend their European campaign beyond Christmas.

• Whalley: Problems remain

Shelvey, 20, scored the opening goal against Young Boys in Thursday night's Europa League Group A clash at Anfield, however, Liverpool switched off to allow the visitors back into the game twice and snatch a 2-2 draw.

The result means that only a win over Udinese in Italy on December 6 will guarantee progress into the next round. But the England international feels qualification is possible with the club's fate being in their own hands.

"I think we need to get better at our game management towards the end of the game," Shelvey said. "When we're 2-1 up at home, we should seal it. I thought we deserved more than what we got from the game but it's not the first time it's happened at Anfield this season in Europe. Obviously I'm happy with my goal but as a team we let it slip because we could have qualified.

"The boss is going to get us up for the game against Udinese in Italy. It'll be a tough place to go and get three points but I'm sure we can do it."

The midfielder played the first hour of Thursday night's match in a false-nine role, with Rodgers making a number of team changes in a bid to rest players ahead of a busy schedule that will bring three Premier League matches in seven days, starting with Sunday's trip to Swansea.

"It's an unfamiliar role for me, but I'd play left-back if I had to because you're playing for Liverpool, so I'd play anywhere," Shelvey said. "It was a bit of a surprise but, like I said, I'd just play anywhere. It's just a pleasure to coming in and working for Liverpool every day.

"I always look to go out on to the pitch and score goals but sometimes they fall and sometimes they don't and to be honest, lately they've not. We've had a few more chances in the league and not put them away but if I keep getting up there, I'm sure the goals will come.

"It's a lot different playing there fitness wise, I'll tell you that, but as long as you're playing on that pitch in front of that crowd then you're just going to be buzzing anyway."

Joe Cole scored Liverpool's other goal - his first for the club since April 2011 - and Shelvey has backed the winger to build on it after an underwhelming start to the season.

"He's had a tough time since he's been here," Shelvey said. "He got sent off in his first game a while back [against Arsenal in August 2010] but he deserved his goal and he got the assist for my goal. You see the work he does day in, day out; he's a credit to the club and a credit to himself."

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