Daniel Agger today underlined the importance of Liverpool retaining focus over the course of their final 10 games of the season in order to achieve their goals, but insisted: 'We can handle the pressure'.

The Reds return to action following the international break with a mouth-watering trip to Old Trafford to tackle Manchester United on Sunday, aiming to maintain a run of form that has elevated them to second place in the Barclays Premier League table.

With plenty still up for grabs this term, this weekend's contest is one of several high-profile matches Brendan Rodgers' men will contest before the campaign draws to a close - and Agger believes Liverpool have already demonstrated they have the required mental steadfastness to maintain their challenge.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "When you play for Liverpool Football Club, there is always pressure and that won't change between now and the end of the season.

"Part of playing for this club is being able to handle that pressure. I think the players here have proved over the course of this season that they are more than capable of doing that.

"We have had some great results and there have been a few times when we have been all the way up there at the top.

"It's always difficult to compare squads and teams. This is a completely different team to the one in 2009. There aren't many players left from that side.

"We are in a good position but we are only in March. There is still a long way to go and a lot of points to play for. We haven't achieved anything yet and we need to keep going over the final 10 games. We have some big games against teams close to us in the table. They are games we have to win."

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Liverpool signed off for the international recess with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Southampton - a win as important as any so far this season, according to Rodgers in his post-match reaction.

It's a sentiment firmly echoed by Agger.

"That was a big win for us and every time we get a result like that we are a step closer," reflected the Reds' vice-captain.

"In the past we have struggled against Southampton and the game at St Mary's was really tough last season.

"This time we were clever and that was what got us the three points. If you want to be near the top, you need to be clever.

"I don't know if we needed to send out a message, we just needed to do it for ourselves. We know we are a good team.

"To go there, score three goals and keep a clean sheet was a big thing for us.

"I think we know we have goals in this team. With those two [Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez] up front, anything can happen. Defending well is so important as we know we can always score."