Wigan Athletic's visit to Anfield brings together the two former Swansea City managers who were interviewed for the Liverpool job in the summer, with Brendan Rodgers, the one who got it, admitting he is still adjusting to the size of the club and the task ahead.
"I went to a charity dinner the other night with the former players and I felt like an imposter," Rodgers said. "It was incredible. There were guys like Ronnie Whelan and big Ron Yeats, Alan Kennedy, Jan Molby, Steve McManaman, it was just fantastic. To listen to the stories and speak with these guys who were true greats of the club was wonderful but what was even more inspiring was their attitude towards the present situation. They understand the difficulties now, they know the work that needs to be done to get us anywhere near the level of the era they played in and that's brilliant coming from guys of that esteem."
Wigan won the corresponding fixture last season and Liverpool have won only three league games at Anfield in the calendar year of 2012, so Rodgers is looking for three points rather than reminiscing with Roberto Martínez. "I know Roberto spoke to the owners here but there is nothing in it from my perspective," he said. "The club were looking for a manager and they had one or two candidates. The situation was clear, I believed in what I was told by the owners and the people connected with the club, and now I am very proud to sit here as manager.
"Roberto is a good guy, we have the same sort of ideas about the game and we speak quite regularly but my main interest when Wigan come here is picking up three points. We need to start turning draws into wins."
Liverpool should have Pepe Reina back in goal after missing seven games with a hamstring problem. The goalkeeper picked up the injury on international duty with Spain and elected not to join the national side last week in order to remain training on Merseyside. "I have a decision to make. Brad Jones has stepped in and done brilliantly but I have always said Pepe is our No1 goalkeeper and, if he is fit, he will play," Rodgers said. "He was very close to playing against Chelsea last weekend and he has been working hard all week to make himself available. He's very committed and determined to continue at a high level for the next nine or 10 years."
Luis Suárez gave Rodgers his full backing after being linked with a move to Manchester City in midweek and, though the manager has been accused of trying to change too much in too short a time at Anfield, he denies he is doing anything revolutionary. "I haven't been brought here and then said I'm reinventing the wheel," he said.
"Attached to me is a certain way of doing things which I'm very proud of. That was the reason I was brought here, because of the way I work, and I will always fight to protect that way of working. There's a way to work in tune with the club and what it stands for and I've been brought in to bring that way back but it is something that will take time. First you need a stable squad. A lot of the more successful teams in the Premier League, even the likes of Wigan, have stable squads and a certain way of playing. We are trying to form something similar but it's about getting the right players in as well as moving on those who aren't getting a game."
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