Rodgers - We won't be sabotaged

16 August 2013 10:16

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his side will not be distracted by the ongoing Luis Suarez transfer saga as they prepare to get their Barclays Premier League challenge under way.

The Reds kick off the new Premier League season against Stoke with the future of their wantaway striker - hotly and publicly pursued by Arsenal - still uncertain.

But Rodgers has backed his side to put off-field issues to the back of their minds and shine on the pitch.

"There's too much good work gone on here for it to be overtaken by anything else," Rodgers said. "The players have worked so hard, their concentration has been brilliant and we are all very determined this year.

"I can't let anything detract from that. Nothing can sabotage what we are trying to do. I don't really want to go on about it. It's just something we cannot afford to happen."

Rodgers believes he starts the new season with a stronger squad than 12 months ago, giving them a much better chance of regaining Champions League status.

Last August Rodgers was embarking on his maiden season at Anfield still trying to ingrain a new way of playing into a squad largely of his predecessors' assembling.

The fixture list has been kinder than last year, when they had to face Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United in their first five matches.

And with no European football to consider Rodgers is confident the work done over the last 12 months, coupled with the four early summer signings of Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas, Sevilla midfielder Luis Alberto, Manchester City defender Kolo Toure and Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, means they begin in a much better position.

"I think in every way the group is stronger and we still hope to add one or two more before the window closes," he said.

Source: PA