Liverpool latest: Defender praises new signing, Ian Rush comments on squad strength

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that his players will find it tough against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Reds will host the Villans at Anfield in the Premier League with the aim of picking up three points and maintaining their quest for glory.

The Merseyside outfit are struggling with injuries at the moment, with Emre Can out, and Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan and Joe Allen all carrying knocks.

Villa are unbeaten in their last three trips to Anfield and have conceded just one goal in the league so far this season, leading Liverpool boss Rodgers to speak highly of them.

‘They've started well’, Premierleague.com quotes him as saying. ‘I'm pleased for Paul because he's gone in and looked to bring in young players. The first season was difficult but now they've done well. It's been a tough game for us in the last couple of years’.

Liverpool’s £16 million summer signing Mario Balotelli is likely to start the encounter against Villa, and the Italian striker has been praised by his teammate Mamadou Sakho.

‘I think that Mario is a quality player’, the France international centre-back told Liverpool’s official website. ‘He is a young player, you mustn't forget that, and he has a lot of experience from playing at several large clubs.

‘Now, I think that Liverpool is certainly the club for him, because we have a very young team and he will be able to put all his talent on show with us. I hope that he gives his most to take this team to the top, as all players here do’.

Meanwhile, Liverpool legend Ian Rush believes that Rodgers’s squad is better and stronger than last season because of the arrivals of new players in the summer - and despite the departure of star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

‘They are all quality players, Brendan has looked at them and thought let's see what they can do’, The Express quotes Rush as saying. ‘We hope they do well in the Liverpool shirt, they're all great players. The squad now is stronger than last year’.

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