Brendan Rodgers Says Premier League Challenge Is ‘Greater Than Ever,’ But Liverpool’s Style Can Help Reds Compete With Richest Clubs

Brendan Rodgers Says Premier League Challenge Is 'Greater Than Ever,' But Liverpool's Style Can Help Reds Compete With Richest ClubsBrendan Rodgers believes his style of play can bridge the gap between Liverpool and the richest clubs in the division -– and the new Reds boss is hopeful of signing more players in the next 48 hours to help his cause.

In a news conference to preview the start of the new Barclays Premier League season, the 39-year-old spoke of his ambitions for the next nine months.

Rodgers admitted the fight for a top-four spot would be a tough one, but explained his belief that an attacking brand of possession football will help elevate Liverpool into the higher reaches of the division sooner or later.

"For us it's about being competitive this year in every competition we're in," he said. "The challenge at the top of the table is greater than ever.

"It was the top two, the top three, then the top four. Now there are seven or eight teams involved in that.

"The top four is certainly not something we'll shy away from. It's where a club of this status wants to be, but it's always easier said than done. The reality over the past three seasons or so hasn't been that.

"It's important that if you don't have the money, you have got to be different. That's the idea of trying to find a style. One of the ways in which we can hopefully gain an edge is in how we play and control and dominate games.

"I've got some wonderful players here, some world-class players, and I'm excited about the young players that are coming through. There are always ways in which you are trying to make the difference.

"Everyone wants the money but you can't always have the money. But it won't stop our hunger and desire to improve and be better, and one of the ways in which we'll look to do that is to define our model of play."

Asked if progress had been made strengthening his squad, Rodgers added "There has been a lot of great work done behind the scenes, enquiring about players.

"I'll find out [more] later, to be honest. We hope in the next couple of days we'll have one or two coming in, which is great — players that can come in and help the ones that are here. Hopefully in the next 48 hours we'll find out."

Meanwhile, Liverpool heads into Saturday's league opener at West Brom with a fully fit squad.

"Everyone has been great, the players are in good physical condition and they have looked very well," Rodgers said.

"Everyone will be back from the internationals today and we'll assess the group over the next couple of days."

As well as the fitness of his senior players, Rodgers was also asked by a Northern Irish journalist about teenager Ryan McLaughlin, who was called up to his international side this week but had to withdraw through injury.

"He's at the beginning of his career," the boss said. "First and foremost, he's a good kid. I came here and I took 10 players under 19 with me to America and Ryan was one of those players, at 17 years of age.

"The guys at the Academy spoke very highly of him. The key thing for Ryan is he wants to learn. He made his first start against [Francesco] Totti against Roma so it was a wonderful experience for him and he did very well.

"I'm sure if he keeps his thirst and he retains the hunger that I've seen over the course of the preseason and the attitude to want to get better and improve, then he has got talent.

"But talent alone is not enough, you've got to have the ability and the mindset to work. If he does all of those things, then he will have a terrific chance of having a good career."

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