Rodgers relishes Chelsea clash
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has no complaints as his side face Chelsea for the second part of a double-header he claims could not be harder.
The Reds, who topped the Barclays Premier League at Christmas, travel to Stamford Bridge to face another title challenger just three days after a battling loss at Manchester City.
Liverpool impressed at the Etihad Stadium but were edged out 2-1 in a thrilling game of chances and controversy and the challenge is now to maintain that intensity against Jose Mourinho's men.
Rodgers said: "For us it couldn't be any tougher. We're playing against the two teams who arguably have the two best squads in the league.
"They can change all 11 players and still have a team that challenges at the top of the table.
"We'll go into the game and do our best, that's what we have done.
"Of course this period is always difficult, no matter what way you look at it.
"It's not ideal but it's what happens and it's what makes it exciting to be in the country at this time. We embrace it and we'll look to get a result."
Rodgers knows Mourinho well having worked under him as a youth-team coach during the Portuguese's first spell with the London club.
Mourinho returned in the summer amid high expectation but his team have been criticised of late for playing without spark and lacking a cutting edge.
Yet they remain firmly in title contention and Rodgers feels that could be an ominous sign for rivals.
He said: "They have a lot of quality. Over the last 10 years they have been one of the most successful clubs in the country and in Europe.
"How they have been building up that squad and changing it has been remarkable.
"They have got a host of talented players and a world-class manager. We understand how difficult it will be.
"They are getting the results and that is all that will concern Jose and the supporters.
"Every team will always look to improve their performance level.
"Certainly with him coming into a new group of players, it will take him time to understand the method of how they work.
"But they are up there in that top four, where they would expect to be."
Liverpool are short on numbers with forward Victor Moses ineligible to play against his parent club and the likes of Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Joe Enrique and Jon Flanagan sidelined.
But Rodgers is happy with the standards being set and found many positives in the Boxing Day reverse to City.
The result may have left them fourth after the game but the platform is still there for a possible title challenge.
Rodgers said: "The last game gives us confidence and belief, but we arrive into this game knowing it's going to be equally difficult.
"Over my time here, whatever squad we are working with, we have always been able to galvanise the group.
"The team has been able to go again and that's something that we'll look to do for the weekend.
"We've been improving as the season has gone on. If you look at the last number of weeks, the performance level and the standard has been at a real high level.
"I think we're a team that shows great confidence and belief in how we're training and how we're working.
"We're taking that confidence into any stadium, home or away, and that's always difficult for an opponent.
"I think you've seen the aggression, the charisma, the confidence and the consistency over these last 12 months.
"I think (our position) will fluctuate between now and the end of the season - one day you're first, then you're fourth.
"But as long as we're in the conversation with 10 games to go, then it will be all to play for.
"That's the idea, to arrive at that point in a position where we are going to be able to challenge."