(Sporting Alert) — Brendan Rodgers will get his first real test as Liverpool manager when his side start their Europa League campaign with a third qualifying round first leg clash against Belarus’ FC Gomel tonight.
Liverpool players have been training well this preseason, Rodgers said and are ready to finally move out of preseason zone into the next phase of their preparation.
The boss reveals that every competition, including the Europa League, will be taken seriously, but also insists the Barclays Premier League remains the main focus for the Reds this season.
“I don’t want to disrespect the Europa League, but there’s no doubt the league is our priority and we want to finish as high as we possibly can,” he told the club’s official website at www.liverpoolfc.com.
“The Europa League is a competition we’d like to do well in.
“Obviously to do well in it you’ve got to play a lot of games and hopefully that will be the case.
“When you play for Liverpool every tournament and every game is a priority.”
Meanwhile, Rodgers says his Liverpool team will not be taking the Belarus side lightly.
“We have done our homework on them,” he said.
“They have done well to qualify for this stage, the pitch looks nice and they play a 4-2-3-1 system.
“But while I always respect the opponent we play and never underestimate them, I’m a big believer in focusing on our own game and maximising how we play the game.
“If we do that then I believe throughout the course of the season we’ll have a chance of winning every game.”
Liverpool will be without strikers Luis Suarez and Craig Bellamy, who remain on Olympic duty, while England forward Andy Carroll did not travel because of a slight groin strain, the club said.
The likes of Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard, Charlie Adam and Lucas are all expected to be in action in the game.