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Premier League

Brendan Rodgers taunts visitors with the Ferguson factor


The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, has turned the pressure up on his opposite number David Moyes by suggesting Manchester United's players will show a different attitude at Anfield without the iconic presence of Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout.

While Moyes has never won at Anfield, Ferguson boasted an impressive 11 victories in 27 league visits, including a 2-1 success in his final game at the ground in September 2012.

Undoubtedly, Ferguson's decision to retire at the end of last season left a void in the United dressing room which Moyes is still trying to fill.

And while Rodgers stopped short of saying the champions were mentally weaker with Moyes in charge he thinks the shift in attitude in United's players in the post-Ferguson era has become noticeable. "I think it could affect the attitude at United," Rodgers said. "A manager can affect the attitude of his players. Look at the Chelsea game the other night. It was drifting towards a 0-0 and there wasn't really a murmur at Old Trafford.

"You know at the time Fergie was there he was probably going for the win so the crowd were near enough expecting a goal at the end. Fergie was renowned for always asking about the time in games and using that influence."

Rodgers is confident about Liverpool's prospects in this campaign and his body language this week has been noticeably more bullish than before United's visit 12 months ago.

Tempering expectation among supporters after Liverpool's impressive start to the campaign may prove a little more difficult if they beat United, although Rodgers thinks it would breed greater conviction in his squad.

"If you can beat one of your rivals early on it gives you more belief," added the Northern Irishman. "We want to be aggressive in our game. Hopefully, this season it's a different story. We will be ready."

In striker Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool have the league's early-season form player, which in Rodgers' eyes dispels the myth they are overreliant on Luis Suarez, currently suspended for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Sturridge has scored four goals in Liverpool's opening three games, taking his tally to 15 in just 19 appearances following his £12m January move from Chelsea. "Daniel wouldn't have been far away being the top scorer in the league if he'd played all last season," Rodgers added."I think he will show that this season, provided he gets his games in and stays clear of injury.

The Portuguese defender Tiago Llori, 20, is expected to arrive on Merseyside imminently to complete the paperwork and medical ahead of his £8m move from Sporting Lisbon.

They are also being linked with the France centre-half Mamadou Sakho, who was left out of the Paris Saint-Germain squad for Sunday's game against Guingamp amid reports a £19.5m deal had been agreed with Liverpool. Rodgers will then turn his attention towards a loan deal for the Chelsea winger Victor Moses before the transfer window closes.