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Reds want City scalp


Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (R) and team mate Jordan Henderson. Photo: REUTERS/Darren Staples

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (R) and team mate Jordan Henderson. Photo: REUTERS/Darren Staples

Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Brendan Rodgers. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire


Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (R) and team mate Jordan Henderson. Photo: REUTERS/Darren Staples

Manager Brendan Rodgers is confident Liverpool will be able to produce more of the kind of fluid football this season that made them such a force last term and has backed them to show their creativity in tonight's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

The Reds' 2014-15 top-flight campaign got under way last Sunday with a 2-1 home win over Southampton, a result Rodgers felt his men had had to "grind out".

Certainly, it was not a performance akin to those they were putting on for much of the conclusion to 2013-14, in which they fell just agonisingly short of claiming the Premier League title.returnSince then, Liverpool have lost the services of Luis Suarez - scorer of 31 goals last term - and brought in a raft of new players, with AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli looking set to add to that.But despite all the change and the fact that many of his squad came into pre-season off the back of playing at this summer's World Cup, Rodgers is sure the Merseyside outfit's old potency will return.

Reflecting on the Southampton victory, the Northern Irishman said: "We were certainly delighted to start with a win."I was very, very pleased and very happy we won the game. Of course, we will perform better and that fluidity will get better as the season goes on. You have to understand a lot of players are coming back late."City scored 102 goals on their way to being crowned Premier League champions last term, while runners-up Liverpool notched 101.

Their encounters during the season saw City win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium - the venue for tonight's match - before Liverpool triumphed 3-2 at Anfield.And while expecting a close battle this time around, Rodgers also anticipates there being plenty of creative attacking play in the game, even given how early on it is in the campaign.Asked if he thought tonight's contest would be a cagey one, Rodgers said: "I don't think so. I think the nature of both teams is the offensive game, but of course they're normally tight games."If you look at both sets of players, there's lots of invention and creativity in the team. I think both will be creative and want to score goals.

"We know we need to be compact and solid when we haven't got the ball, and we need to be aggressive and press well."We know we have the freedom, movement and pace that can hurt teams. We understand it's early on, but it'll be a good game for sure."One thing Rodgers was particularly pleased about with regard to the Southampton game was the character his players demonstrated to come through and emerge with the win.

He feels it is down to the sense of team spirit at Liverpool, something he has been keen to emphasise that no incoming player - such as maverick Italy frontman Balotelli - will disrupt.Rodgers said: "I think the atmosphere and the ambience around the team is very, very good."It's been a key marker for us. When people look at the team, as well as the qualities, our team spirit is very strong, and it is something that got us through the game last weekend - that character, resilience and spirit."Maybe early on you didn't really see that, but I think you see that now in the team - that if we are not playing so well, we still want to fight and work."You do that when the team is close and the squad is close. Ultimately that will get you results."

Balotelli will not be able to feature against his old club City tonight even if his proposed transfer goes through before the game as it needed to have been completed by midday on Friday for him to be eligible, but there could be debuts for summer signings Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno.