Chelsea vs Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers admits he 'enjoys the challenge' of facing Jose Mourinho

Liverpool manager insists tonight's fixture is about the players

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is looking forward to locking horns with former mentor Jose Mourinho once again - this time with a Wembley place at stake.

Rodgers takes his Liverpool side to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final on Tuesday night and has high hopes of getting one over the Portuguese.

That was something he failed to achieve last season, most notably as the Reds slipped up at the Londoners' hands in the Premier League run-in in April, suffering a defeat that proved costly to their title chances.

Rodgers, who worked as Mourinho's assistant during his first spell in charge at Chelsea, was also beaten at Anfield in November but last week's 1-1 first-leg draw has offered plenty of hope.

"I always say it is about the teams on the field but knowing him, and how Jose works and how competitive he is, I really enjoy the challenge," said Rodgers, 42, who coincidentally shared a birthday with Mourinho, 10 years his senior, on the eve of the match.

"The game last week was fantastic, it was a top-level game. We were at a really good level.

"Jose's record speaks for itself. He is a world-class manager and will always have that competitive edge. Your teams have to be at the maximum to get a result.

"We respect the opponent but we have got nothing to fear in the game. We are a team that is in a good moment. We are playing well, working well. We know we can go there and win."

Victory for Liverpool would increase Chelsea's agony after their shock FA Cup loss to League One Bradford at home on Saturday.

Chelsea surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 to the West Yorkshire team, much to the delight of a large and jubilant away following.

Rodgers said: "What is also key, and very important for us, is our supporters.

"Bradford City had an incredible support. That second half when they were attacking the goal with all their supporters - they made a great noise. It felt like a real great vibe for the team.

"We know that everywhere we travel, the travelling Kop is amazing. To go and have them with us in a semi-final should make it really exciting. We will hope to do them justice and get to the final."

Liverpool could be boosted by the return of star striker Daniel Sturridge after five months of injury frustration.

The 25-year-old England international, who has not played for the Reds since August, mainly because of thigh problems, is now back in full training and close to a comeback.

PA

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