Rodgers speaks of 'great hope' ahead of 50th game
By Football News
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has underlined his happiness at the club as he prepares to mark his 50th game in charge against Chelsea on Sunday.
The Northern Irishman arrived at Anfield last summer having helped Swansea consolidate their Premier League status after leading them to promotion via the Championship play-offs.
And, while Rodgers says his first season in charge on Merseyside has been something of an emotional rollercoaster, he highlighted his optimism for the future.
"There's been delight, there's been disappointment, there's been frustration, there's been incredible relationships that we've built here already," he said.
"It's a challenge, there's absolutely no question about that. I'm very hopeful that we can meet the challenge going forward which is to try and be a consistent team that can get up into those top-four places.
"It's a big, big ask, you only need to look at Chelsea themselves. They finished sixth last season in the league and had a net spend of over 71 million in the summer to try and get back into that top four.
"You look at the teams around that, it's a big ask for us. It's been a pleasure to be here, from the day I walked in it's been everything and more of what I expected.
"A truly world-class football club with incredible supporters, a great city to live in, work in and be around and great hope for the future."
Ahead of former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez's first return to Anfield since his 2010 departure, Rodgers predicted the Spaniard will receive a warm welcome.
"There's no question Rafael Benitez will get a good reception," he continued.
"The football club as a whole always respects their former players and managers and obviously he had a good time and won the Champions League and FA Cup during his six years here so I'm sure he'll get a fantastic reception."
Luis Suarez saw his performances this term recognised through a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year award on Friday and Rodgers believes the Uruguayan would be a worthy winner.
"It's great for him, it's also a mark of the team," he said.
"He will say himself that he's got great support from the players around him but for him in his role and function in the team he's been absolutely outstanding. I'm sure he'd be one of the favourites to win it."
The 40-year-old also spoke of his sadness over the death of prominent Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams this week.
"It was very sad. It was the first time I'd attended the service and I actually felt the real emotion in it and it was great to have the supporters there and the former players, managers there to support," he continued.
"I watched it again when I went home and to see Anne there and only a few days later for her to pass away is very, very sad.
"She suffered for a long time fighting for her son and the families have suffered for many years as a whole so we hope that in the not too distant future that they get what they deserve which is justice for them all and that there's not many others in the families have to go to their graves not knowing whether they got justice or not.
"It's a very sad moment for everybody concerned, she was a great supporter of the club; of course she's fought a lifetime for her child so hopefully in the future the justice is there without too long a wait."