A strong final few months to the previous campaign has raised hopes of an improvement on their seventh place finish
Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool cannot afford to look for excuses as they aim to meet the increased expectation of a genuine challenge for Champions League qualification.
The Anfield outfit kick-off the Premier League season when they host Stoke City, with a strong final few months to the previous campaign raising hopes of an improvement on their seventh place finish.
However, while many of Liverpool’s rivals have strengthened, Rodgers has found it difficult to attract quality reinforcements given the lack of Champions League football.
But the Northern Irishman remains determined to find a way of ensuring the club can return to the top table of European football.
“No doubt there will be calls for us to improve every year but that’s not new, that’s not unexpected,” said Rodgers. “It’s what you expect at a big club.
“We want to make improvements and believe we will. I believe we will be stronger this year.
“The measure will always be the Champions League and the big European competitions. I think the problem is if you start to think about it being unfair then you just anchor yourself and it’s hard to move on then.
“I can stand here and make excuses, I can say (Manchester) City have spent £90 odd million and other teams already in there have got stronger and reinforced as a group, but that won’t help my job here.
“I can make enough excuses but it’s not going to solve anything. We have got to fight for our life, with our play; play with the type of football that can maybe be different and get players in who are hungry.
“If you are in those top echelons you can maybe attract another type of player but I’m not going to bleat and moan about it being unfair, I just need to get on with the job and do the best I can.”
Having failed to lure several targets, Rodgers is hopeful of a deal for Anzhi Makhachkala left winger Willian after the Brazilian expressed an interest in moving to Anfield.
In terms of numbers, Liverpool’s squad is no better off than last year after making four signings and shipping out four senior players, the most recent of which was Stewart Downing this week to West Ham United.
“It’s unfortunate for some players but we had to do that,” said Rodgers. “We are in a situation not like some clubs, where they can just stockpile players and fill up the group and afford to keep them.
“We have had to move some out to get some in. But what we have now is players coming in with an understanding of how we work.
“We are confident in the next couple of weeks we can add to the team. And if we do that we are going to be in a real good position.
“Where we sit at the minute is a real good base and a couple of more it could really improve our chances.”
Rodgers also remains in the market for a centre-back but admits “it has to be the right one”.
And he added: “There’s a lot work that’s been done. A lot of finance has been rejigged and when he have to manage that the best we can to compete.
“But that’s the job, I knew the job I was coming into. Liverpool has to be sustainable club and I repeat four years ago it almost went into administration. So that’s the part of it.
“It doesn’t change the pressures and shouldn’t. That’s why I wouldn’t want to be at any other club.”
Rodgers must decide whether to throw fit-again Daniel Sturridge into the starting line-up today or hand Iago Aspas a full debut up front, while Daniel Agger should be fit to partner Kolo Toure at centre-back after missing Liverpool’s final two pre-season friendlies.