LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers expects his players to work hard and contribute to a "cause worth fighting for" as he seeks to turn around the club's fortunes.
For all the praise Rodgers' teams have received for their easy-on-the-eye style, he knows first and foremost he has to get them winning regularly again – and that will only come with effort.
He insists significant, whole-hearted commitment is the very minimum he requires from his squad.
“I have conditions to work in. I create a framework and the players come in and adhere to,” said the 39-year-old.
“I hear people talking about working hard but for me it is an obligation, it's not a choice.
“We all work hard in our everyday lives as people and for players it is no different.
“It is quite simple. You come in and do a hard day's work. You make sure in training and on match days you come in and you can take your top off and wring it out and it will be |soaking wet.
“It is that honesty you want. If you can work hard and you have got talent it takes you a long way.
“That will be the emphasis for me here, to try to reinforce that and ensure that commitment to the cause is important because we have a cause to fight for here.”
One of the players who will be looking to impress Rodgers will be Joe Cole, whom Lille coach Rudi Garcia does not expect to see again after his loan spell ended.
“Joe Cole will stay at Liverpool,” the Ligue 1 side's coach said.
“The new staff have decided to keep him. We will remember him very fondly as a player but also as a man.”
Rodgers knows Cole from his time at Chelsea and at the weekend described him as a “wonderful talent”.
Meanwhile, Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has shown unusual reluctance in refusing to be drawn into a war of words after Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre called him a “comedian” for the way he handled things while the Reds were talking to his manager Roberto Martinez.
Ayre had said: “We approached the clubs we needed to approach, and conducted ourselves properly at all times. It is disappointing, then, that Dave Whelan felt the need to run the kind of sideshow he conducted via Sky Sports News and various other media outlets.
“To be honest, I always thought John Bishop was the biggest comedian in the north west but Dave Whelan seems to have taken that mantle over the last couple of weeks.”
The Latics owner, however, held back from responding, saying: “My response is a simple one – I wish Liverpool all the very best with their new manager.
“They have appointed a super lad for the job, a very good manager, and I am very happy for them.
“We've kept Roberto Martinez, so I wish them luck for next season,” he added.