sport

Rodgers eyes goals at Etihad

Brendan Rogers is expecting a feast of attacking football when his Liverpool side travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on Manchester City on Monday.

City scored 102 goals on their way to being crowned Premier League champions last term, while runners-up Liverpool notched 101.

Games between title contenders are often nervy affairs but both of these teams possess an abundance of top-quality attacking options and Rodgers revealed he will give his flair players the freedom to express themselves.

"I think the nature of both teams is the offensive game, but of course they're normally tight games," he said.

"If you look at both sets of players, there's lots of invention and creativity in the team. I think both will be creative and want to score goals.

"We know we need to be compact and solid when we haven't got the ball, and we need to be aggressive and press well.

"We know we have the freedom, movement and pace that can hurt teams. We understand it's early on, but it'll be a good game for sure."

The Reds' Premier League campaign got under way last Sunday with 2-1 win over Southampton with goals from Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge proving decisive.

Rodgers admitted his side were fortunate to escape with all three points as his players laboured to grind out the victory but is confident they will improve as the season progresses.

"We were certainly delighted to start with a win," he said. "I was very, very pleased and very happy we won the game.

"Of course, we will perform better and that fluidity will get better as the season goes on. You have to understand a lot of players are coming back late."

Despite the departure of Luis Suarez, there is much optimism among Liverpool fans about the team's prospects this season following a raft of summer arrivals.

The Reds' squad has been boosted by nine signings so far with Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Javi Manquillo, Lazar Markovic, Alberto Moreno, Divock Origi and Kevin Stewart all arriving.

Mario Balotelli is expected to be confirmed as the tenth before the transfer window closes as Rodgers looks to build a squad capable of coping with the demands of Champions League football.

The Northern Irishman fostered a tremendous team spirit last season as Liverpool went on an unlikely title run thanks to some wonderful attacking football.

Rodgers is adamant the influx of new faces will not disturb the equilibrium in the dressing room and expects the team to build upon their experience from last season.

"I think the atmosphere and the ambience around the team is very, very good," Rodgers said. "It's been a key marker for us.

"When people look at the team, as well as the qualities, our team spirit is very strong, and it is something that got us through the game last weekend - that character, resilience and spirit.

"Maybe early on you didn't really see that, but I think you see that now in the team - that if we are not playing so well, we still want to fight and work.

"You do that when the team is close and the squad is close. Ultimately that will get you results."