Brendan Rodgers confident Liverpool can cope with Real Madrid

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Football News

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the strength of his squad can match both Real Madrid and Chelsea's, as his side prepare for two tough clashes in the space of four days.

The Reds have three difficult fixtures facing them in the next seven days; firstly they make the trip to the North East to face Newcastle United, who have been in deadly form of late.

They then take a flight to Madrid to play the current Champions League holders at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, before travelling back to Merseyside to host current Premier League leaders, Chelsea.

It'll be a tough week for the Reds, but Rodgers believes that his side should cope and times like this is why he recruited so heavily over the summer.

“It's why we strengthened the squad, for weeks like this,” he said during his pre-match press conference prior to the Newcastle game. “We made nine changes from the team against Hull to the team against Swansea on Tuesday, and come out with a victory.

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“It's a really exciting week, and that's the key. Newcastle will be a tough game, but one that we will relish. And that's the only focus really, we will look to get the three points and go from there.

“We will come into the Newcastle game with big confidence. We had an excellent result the other night, and we played as well as we've done all season in the first half.

“We showed the resilience and the character of the players to come back and get a victory against a very good side.

“A couple of years ago, we made a lot of changes for a League Cup game (also against Swansea) and were comprehensively beaten. On Tuesday we made nine changes, won the game and are into the quarter finals. We'll look to take that confidence into the game at the weekend.”

Squad size

The Northern Irishman was heavily at work during the summer transfer window, drafting in no less than nine recruits to Merseyside.

Rodgers signed players in every position to bring both depth and class in preparation for a busy season ahead.

Liverpool qualified for the Champions League for the first time in six years, and the Reds boss knew that fixtures would come thick and fast. On top of that, his side seem to be taking domestic cup competitions more seriously this term, given they qualified for the League Cup quarter-final for the first time since Rodgers took over.

Having a large squad is a must for Liverpool, considering the style of football they play. The quick, counter-attacking football makes players much more prone to injury, as we've saw with Daniel Sturridge and Suso being side-lined this season.

Not strong enough

Given the form that Liverpool are in at the minute, they may struggle during the three fixtures approaching.

Newcastle looks the easiest of the three, however, Alan Pardew is still fighting for his job and knows how important a result will be. His side have hit a superb run of form, unbeaten in their last  four fixtures and have beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City away in successive games. The Magpies will be full of confidence and belief and will have the Toon Army behind them on Saturday.

The fixture against Real Madrid will be so hard for the young Liverpool squad. The Spanish side thrashed the Reds 3-0 at Anfield last week, scoring all three goals before half-time and were able to take their foot off the gas in the second period.

Then, Chelsea again will be tough. Jose Mourinho's men are currently unbeaten this season, and his summer signings of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are having by far more effect than Mario Balotelli and Lazar Markovic.

Hot-cold signings

Assessing the nine players drafted in over the summer, some have succeeded, others haven't.

Both Alberto Moreno and Emre Can have been extremely impressive, showing their quality when attacking and defending. They are powerful players and are certainly ones for the future.

Adam Lallana, who signed for £25 million from Southampton has also settled well into the Liverpool squad, adjusting to play a central midfield role or further forward.

However, some of the new recruits are yet to cut the mustard. Mario Baloteli, who made the switch from AC Milan to Merseyside has netted just twice on 12 games, and yet to brea his duck in the Premier League. Likewise, Rickie Lambert is yet to score in any competition.

The £20 million signing of Lazar Markovic from Benfica has been worst of all, showing little signs he will come good at Anfield.

To say Liverpool have the squad to match two top European clubs is an ambitious statement. Real Madrid, for example, have had Gareth Bale out injured. In came Isco, who has been so impressive and put in a man of the match performance in the 3-1 victory of rivals Barcelona.

Likewise, Chelsea have the likes of Willian and Andre Schurrle sitting on their bench almost every game, who make an impact when they're given a call up.

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