Rodgers ready for early start
Manager embraces early kick-off to Liverpool's campaign
Last Updated: August 1, 2012 4:35pm
Brendan Rodgers: Has embraced early start to Liverpool's season
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers feels embarking on a Europa League campaign so early in the season will work in the club's favour.
Rodgers' reign as Reds boss will begin in earnest against FC Gomel in Thursday night's third-qualifying round first-leg clash in Belarus' second largest city.
Far from frustrated at overseeing his first competitive match at the start of August, Rodgers insists it will provide ideal preparation for the Premier League.
"We are still finding our fitness and our match fitness so playing these games helps us," he told the club's official website.
"It will give us that edge going into the beginning of this season.
"Players at this level are competitive so they love the competition.
"Even though we are still gaining fitness it's a competitive game and it's a tournament we would like to do well in.
"It's a bit of a hike and we've got to get on our travels again, but that's life and you've just got to get on with it.
"We are looking forward to the game and hopefully it will serve us well for the beginning of the season."
Liverpool open the new Premier League season at West Brom on August 18th and Rodgers insists the domestic championship dominates the club's thinking.
"I don't want to disrespect the Europa League, but there's no doubt the league is our priority and we want to finish as high as we possibly can," he said.
"The Europa League is a competition we'd like to do well in.
"Obviously to do well in it you've got to play a lot of games and hopefully that will be the case.
"When you play for Liverpool every tournament and every game is a priority.
"I never look too further than the next game and that is Belarus on Thursday and we are looking forward to it."