Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has declared that he will ”never give up the fight” to win the Premier League outright this season and rejected the notion that he would take fourth place if it were offered to him now.
Rodgers said ahead of tomorrow’s home match against Aston Villa that the three clubs above his own in the table – Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea – have “Champions League squads.” But with Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard restored to the ranks and both of those elite sides facing trips to an Anfield which has become a fortress, Rodgers said: “We know that if we have got the fortune to stay clear of injury and whatnot, I would put our team up against everyone. Of course the challenge is to go fourth. Once you can do that, it is about seeing if you can go beyond that.”
Rodgers insisted that Liverpool’s sophisticated passing game did not make them “too nice.” He said: “If you compare us to Chelsea, for example, their characteristics are different. They have a squad that's been built over a number of years and is based on power and strength. We are still in the process of building but you don't go to Stoke and win 5-3 if you're nice.”
Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre again hinted at the club’s determination to ensure that Uefa polices Financial Fair Play to prevent wealthier owners than Liverpool’s from gaining an advantage, as he unveiled a new partnership wth the Dunkin’ Brands Group. “In this world of Financial Fair Play [squad development] is only allowable by operating within your own means – that what we signed up to. This team’s history is steeped in Champions League football and European football. That’s our aim. I don’t think we are trying to keep up with anyone. We back our ability. Liverpool is a very special club with ambition.”