Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool boss says he is best man for club

Man Utd v Liverpool is more than a game - Rodgers

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he remains the best man to take the club forward.

The Reds, who trail Premier League leaders Chelsea by 15 points, went out of the Champions League after drawing 1-1 with Basel on Tuesday.

They travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

"The message for me, is clear. I don't think there would be anyone better to do the job here," Rodgers said.

The 41-year-old continued: "Seven months ago we nearly won the title. I had time to work with players and, above expectation, took them beyond where the club has been.

"This has been a difficult start with new players, less coaching time, young players, virtually starting again.

"I don't think there is anybody better equipped to deal with that having been here for the last two-and-a-half years and experienced what this club is about."

Former Liverpool captain Mark Lawrenson this week accused his old club of being "rudderless" and "going backwards just as fast as they went forwards last season".

Liverpool's Champions League campaign
16 Sept: Liverpool 2-1 Ludogorets4 Nov: Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
1 Oct: FC Basel 1-0 Liverpool26 Nov: Ludogorets 2-2 Liverpool
22 Oct: Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid9 Dec: Liverpool 1-1 FC Basel

The Reds finished third in their Champions League group behind Real Madrid and Basel, meaning they will enter the Europa League knockout stages in February.

"I am more determined than ever to succeed here. You want to be at a club with this expectancy," Rodgers said.

"The players know what is expected of them. Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The ability to express ourselves has not been part of us for whatever reason this season.

"The one thing we have retained is spirit, no matter the outside influences. Our focus is back on getting ready for the weekend. We will be ready."

Liverpool beat Manchester United 1-0 at Anfield and 3-0 at Old Trafford last season, on the way to finishing second in the league.

"This is always a massive game in the fixture list in this country. It's more than a football game. You're are representing a city and a set of supporters," Rodgers said.

On Mario Balotelli returning

The Italian striker, a £16m summer signing from AC Milan, has missed Liverpool's past six games with a groin injury.

Rodgers said: "He's been out for a little while now, but in the last couple of days he's looked good in training.

"We'll give him every chance to see if he can come into the squad."

On Raheem Sterling's contract talks

The England winger was reportedexternal-link in the Daily Telegraph as being unhappy with the offer of a new contract worth £70,000 a week.

Rodgers said: "It's up to the club and his representatives to sort out the deal, but there's no unhappiness."

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