Liverpool face Everton in the Merseyside derby this Saturday. Both sides have struggled to really kick on in the league this season and Brendan Rodgers insists he is not too worried about his side only registering two wins in five opening games.
“In the league with us winning two games and losing three, it’s not ideal but there are still positives to take out of it,” said the Reds boss in his pre-match conference at Melwood.
“If I look at the corresponding games last season, there’s only a one point difference and we ended up doing okay. We know we need to be better, we know we need to improve our performance levels.
“The derby gives us an opportunity to do that – it provides a platform to go on a good, consistent run. Last season, we had a great spell after our win and I think we collected 36 points from then.”
However, Rodgers has recognized the capability of Everton and the damage they could possibly do
“They’re a good side, with very good players. They’re different to us, but they’ve got a lot of quality,” he said.
“They’ve probably not got the results they’ve wanted, but Roberto is an excellent manager. He’s done a great job there and being a derby game, it will be tough for us.”
Rodgers hailed the derby games and said that he is looking forward to another one as the Liverpool boss at Anfield.
“I’ve loved every second of it, they’ve been great games both home and away,” he said of Merseyside’s main attraction. “But of course, the performance at Anfield last season was really special.
“Everton were on a good run of form, they were building and developing well, and they probably came to Anfield with a view of winning, but we were exceptional.
“Every aspect of our game was superb – our counter-attack and our finishing was fantastic. It will be a tough game, but a brilliant one for supporters.”
Meanwhile there were concerns over Raheem Sterling’s participation in the derby as the 19 year old played 120 minutes in the midweek Capital One game against Middlesbrough. But Brendan Rodgers said that he is confident Sterling won’t be tired and would be able to contribute to Liverpool’s cause.
He said: “I’m not concerned, one bit. Obviously it wasn’t ideal, but we gave him a breather against Aston Villa because we knew that he was going to be important for us over a number of games coming up.
“The League Cup was important, and he’s a very important player for us. But he’s a super-fit boy. He works and trains hard every day, and I think you’ve seen that his fitness levels are high, and I know that he’ll be relishing the game on Saturday.”