Rodgers hopes for change in luck

BY foxsports • September 22, 2012

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes luck is due to turn as he prepares for his first taste of the club's most intense rivalry.

Rodgers is still waiting for his first Barclays Premier League win as Reds boss having collected just two points from the opening four games.

For the club and fans there could be no better time to put that right than when Manchester United visit Anfield on Sunday and Rodgers is convinced his team will soon come good.

Rodgers is relishing the occasion and said: "This is a game I have grown up with as the biggest game in British football - Liverpool v Manchester United.

"From my time growing up as a child, through my teenage years and right the way through - two massive clubs, iconic clubs worldwide.

"To be involved right in the middle of it is wonderful, and it should be a wonderful game.

"Our players have been outstanding since I came in here, absolutely first class.

"We haven't had the rub of the green in some of the games but every day our spirit is getting better and stronger, the more we get to work with each other. You could see that in the last two games."

Liverpool came from behind to claim a draw at Sunderland last weekend before a much-changed side overturned a 3-2 deficit in Switzerland on Thursday to beat Young Boys 5-3 in the Europa League.

Rodgers said: "Sunderland was a difficult place to go. We were 1-0 down having dominated and then in the second half we really stepped it up and the point was the least we deserved.

"Then, on Thursday - that takes character. Everyone talks about the style we are trying to produce, but what is more important to me is the steel in the team and we are starting to see that.

"That will be important for us going forward.

"The confidence is fine and I see the players every day, I'm on the field working with them as individuals and as a group and their quality is undoubted.

"There have been a couple of adjustments in terms of what I have asked them to do, but in terms of their output, it has been fantastic.

"As the season goes on, we will get better and better.

"I am looking forward to the game, it is a good test. Manchester United are a terrific side."

Rodgers made 11 changes in Bern as he rested the likes of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen, Martin Kelly and Jose Reina.

Those big names are all likely to come back in to face United but Rodgers felt he learned much from the performance of a largely youthful side against the Swiss.

He said: "It was great, a really exciting performance.

"The goals we conceded weren't the best and I was disappointed with that but we scored five goals away from home and we introduced some new players to the group. That filled me with great pride.

"Speaking to one or two of the supporters afterwards, they absolutely loved seeing the excitement and creativity of the youngsters.

"When you bring young players in they have no fear, and we played with no fear."

One player who pushed his place for inclusion this weekend was 20-year-old midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who came off the bench to score twice and make victory certain.

Rodgers said: "He has got a big future ahead of him as long as he continues to work and listen and learn.

"He has got great qualities - power, pace, good feet, good technique.

"I think over the next number of years, once he starts to tactically participate in the game and his intelligence grows, then he will have a great future."

This weekend's game will be highly emotional as the first to be played at Anfield since the publication of an independent panel's findings into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed.

A number of tributes of tributes are planned prior to kick-off including the releasing of 96 balloons and the displaying of a mosaic on three sides of the ground.

Rodgers said: "It is a great opportunity globally for us to commemorate what has happened.

"If we can come out on top across the board, not only Liverpool but football will be the winner, and that is what we are all looking for."