Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted that his side are not travelling to their tie against Manchester City just to fulfil a fixture and fully expects the Reds to get something out of the game.
In just the second league fixture of the new season the defending Premier League champions face last year's runners up, after Liverpool were pipped to the title on the final day by Manchester City who finished two points clear with a 2-0 win over West Ham.
To this day, it still brings Rodgers heartbreak and the Northern Irishman has admitted he could not watch Vincent Kompany lift the title later that evening. However it is the thing that is making the former Swansea City boss so ambitious this season.
Talking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: “It’s one of the things from last season which really drives me on for this season.
“In the week leading into the last game of the season when you still have a chance of winning the title, you had to look at the pitch organisation for a trophy presentation and sort out plans for what to do if you win the title.
“I had to sit there knowing that our chance had probably slipped away. But I still had to go through it with delegates from the club and look at how it would be if we won the title.
“Walking up the champions’ carpet, on to the podium, how it all looks.
“It was something that out of choice I probably wouldn’t have done but I wanted to do it in the end because it’s a great motivation and a way of inspiring you for the future.
“I can honestly tell you I’ve never watched it [Kompany lifting the PL Trophy]. I didn’t want to. It would have been difficult. It would have hurt."
Rodgers still having last season in the back of his mind is nothing but a positive for Reds fans. He clearly wasn't happy with Liverpool over-succeeding and making the Champions League - instead he wanted to win the Premier League.
Despite how close Liverpool came to winning the title for the first time since 1990, coming runners up could possibly turn out to be the best result for the Merseyside club.
Rodgers has strengthened enormously this summer, drafting in nine new faces including the likes of Adam Lallana for £25 million and Lazar Markovic joining from Benfica for £20 million.
If Liverpool had won the title last season, it could have been a factor for both manager and owners that they did not need to strengthen all that much.
However, finishing second and showing real ambition to go again this campaign highlights how much the title means to Liverpool and how they are itching to improve on last seasons accomplishments.
Improve away form
Liverpool winning the title starts at getting results from big away fixtures. Last season, Liverpool were didn't pick one point up away at City, Chelsea and Arsenal. That form is not the form of title winners, as you need to get results against your top rivals.
However out of the three losses, it was tonight's opponents who the Merseyside club played best against.
Liverpool were beaten 2-1 at the Etihad last season despite controlling most of the game and having a Raheem Sterling goal disallowed for offside, even though replays suggested it was legitimate.
Through that form, Rodgers fully expects to come out with something from the game.
“I think some of the Manchester City players admitted themselves we were probably the most difficult opponent they faced last season," he explained.
“They have some of the top players in European football but for us we know now that we have been consistently competitive over the past 18 months.
“We just got pipped by Manchester City over 38 games last season. But it’s a new season with a new team here which is evolving.
“We have great confidence in how we’ve worked over pre-season and we had a great start against Southampton in terms of the result.
“It’s a beautiful pitch at the Etihad which suits us perfectly. We will have great support there and we’ll look to put on a really positive performance.”
Liverpool have already been competitive against the Premier League champions this summer - both sides travelled to America for their pre-season tour and faced off in New York. The tie finished 2-2 with some entertaining football being played on both parties and that result showed a lot of positives for the Reds.
Rodgers' side also returned fire when City travelled down the M62 to Anfield last campaign as his side were 3-2 victors, playing positive football throughout the game.
If Liverpool repeat any of those performances - especially last years away trip to City - they should pick up points, given the improvement to the squad.
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