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Liverpool hire Wiggins' psychiatrist

ESPN staff
November 24, 2012 « Wenger impressed by Giroud form | Chartbeat test »
Bradley Wiggins enjoyed a remarkable 2012 © Getty Images
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Liverpool have strengthened their backroom team by hiring the sports psychiatrist who inspired Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton to Olympic success.

Steve Peters, who has worked with the Great Britain cycling team, will spend one day a week at the club's Melwood training ground, combining the role with commitments to UK Athletics.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has brought in the psychiatrist in an attempt to improve the mental strength of players and staff at Anfield as they bid for success.

Peters, whose clients also include the Sky Pro Cycling team, has been described by Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins as "a world expert on common sense".

In addition to working with Hoy and Pendleton, he helped Ronnie O'Sullivan before his victory at this year's World Snooker Championships and was also employed by Craig Bellamy when the forward was at Anfield last season.

Bellamy credited Peters with helping him improve his form through teaching methods that encourage sportspeople to think more rationally under pressure. Liverpool's players will be free to choose whether to use his services.

"We have brought in someone who is the top guy in his field, one of the leading guys in the world in what he does," Rodgers told the Guardian. "I see it as a part of the development of the player. The modern game is very much about the psychological aspect of it.

"I do lots of technical, tactical and physical training and sometimes what gets bypassed is the mental tuning for players, especially in the modern game at the top level."

Rodgers is also hoping that Peters will help him as a manager.

"Command can be lonely and it is always good to have other people to turn to when you are trying to lead the club forward," he said. "I have my staff around me and they are outstanding, but it is always nice to have a different set of eyes with different experiences.

"I have always used neurologists, but I took my time when I arrived here to make sure we could get someone who could really help performance. This guy is of that level. I would stress it is not a psychologist. It is neurology."

Elsewhere, Adam Gemili's coach Michael Afilaka has been dropped by UK Athletics, as the body refocuses following London 2012.

Afilaka, who has helped Gemili become the fastest junior sprinter in the world, applied for the position of sprints coach at the UKA but missed out to Steve Fudge. The fact Gemili missed out on this year's Olympic final in the 100 metres - by a mere 0.04 seconds - means Afilaka is also not eligible to be retained by UKA on a consultancy basis.

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