4 August 2014 07:33
Brendan Rodgers will settle for nothing less than victory, despite Liverpool’s fixture with Manchester United being a pre-season friendly.
Arch-rivals Liverpool and Manchester United are set to contest the International Champions Cup final in Miami on Monday – the pair’s final hit-out in the United States.
While building fitness is paramount, Rodgers and his men are determined to claim early bragging rights ahead of the Premier League season, which kicks off on August 16.
“Liverpool against Manchester United is about more than football, it’s about two cities which aren’t far apart, and who have historically always been rivals,” Rodgers told reporters.
“It is arguably the biggest game in the world and for it to be here in the US, it’s great viewing for them and magnificent news for the organisers.
“The most important thing is obviously about getting the players fit for the start of the season, but even winning in pre-season creates that belief and mentality, and so it’s very important.”
Liverpool exceeded expectations last season as they narrowly missed out on the Premier League title, finishing second to champions Manchester City.
It was a far cry from United’s campaign after the Manchester-based outfit faltered dramatically under manager David Moyes to place seventh in the standings.
United’s woes in 2013-14 were compounded when Liverpool claimed the league double with respective 1-0 and 3-0 wins.
And the club – now managed by Louis van Gaal – are out to exact some revenge, according to midfielder Darren Fletcher.
“It’s Manchester United v Liverpool,” he said. “I know it’s only pre-season and it’s just a summer competition, but when United play Liverpool, it’s always a big deal.
“We want to win every match, and it’s no different when we play Liverpool.”
United team-mate Juan Mata echoed Fletcher’s comments, expressing the importance of generating momentum ahead of the club’s Premier League opener against Swansea City.
“It would be very, very nice to win this important tournament,” the Spaniard told United’s official website.
“I know it’s only a friendly tournament but it’s important to get off to a good start before the season.
“Every time we play against Liverpool we know it’s going to be tough because they are a very good team, but it’s important for us we beat them and win this tournament.”