Brendan Rodgers believes he has already witnessed the belief within his Liverpool squad to progress again in the upcoming season after claiming second place in the Barclays Premier League in 2013-14.

The manager oversaw his side's first pre-season friendly of the summer on Wednesday evening, a 2-1 defeat by Brondby, in which all 23 players selected in the squad were involved for some part.

Arriving on the back of eight days' training at Melwood to kick off preparations, the journey to Denmark commenced a busy period ahead of a clash with Preston North End on Saturday and the beginning of the Reds' American tour.

Early stages it may be, but Rodgers reflected afterwards on his pleasure with what the squad has produced since returning to the club's base last Monday with hard work firmly on the menu.

"We'll go and do our best," the boss responded when asked about August's season start, his third at the helm. "Our best last year nearly won us the title.

"This year, we know it's going to be extremely competitive. Every team will strengthen and we'll be exactly the same. But the beauty for us is that we're a young group and we're bringing in young players that are hungry.


"We will progress again from last season. It's going to be a really exciting season. I've seen development in the players already in the short period of time that we've been back. This season we have the belief to go along with the quality.

"We want to improve and continually improve. We're working very hard behind the scenes, as we always do, in terms of getting the best quality players into the club.

"It's looking at the players that can come in and add the goals and add to our game. That's something that we will always look to continue to do at the club."

In many ways, Daniel Agger took centre stage at the Brondby Stadion, returning to the home of his former club with his current employers as skipper and naturally receiving a rapturous reception.

Local journalists gathered at Rodgers' post-match press conference were keen to hear the Northern Irishman's thoughts on the Denmark international and Liverpool vice-captain.

He said: "Daniel is one of a number of excellent players that we have playing at the back. He has been unfortunate in the time that I've been at the club because the big issue for Dan has been his availability.

"He has been out injured for a number of games - some of that has just been unfortunate. He's an excellent player, an international captain and he's had a very good career at Liverpool.

"He's at a good age, 29, and his experience can be good for us this season. He signed a new contract last season. He has just been unfortunate with injuries.

"You saw tonight in the first half that he's an excellent player, a very good footballer and someone that is an important member of our squad."

Kristoffer Peterson was the goalscorer for the Reds three minutes into the second half against Brondby, but the equaliser was crafted almost totally by the talents of Jordon Ibe.

The 18-year-old scampered gloriously along the left wing, darted into the opposition penalty box and picked out his young teammate to provide a close-range finish.

"It's going to be interesting for me to look at his development over pre-season," Rodgers added. "You saw tonight that he's a really exciting young player. He's still only 18 years of age.

"He had a wonderful piece of skill and run for the goal, a good assist. That's something that we're looking to improve in Jordon - to score more goals and assists.

"He's disappointed with his first touch when he was through on goal. He's an exciting talent who is very good in the one-v-one and works very hard at his game.

"We give him time; I don't necessarily need young players to be ready at 17 or 18, but certainly by 20 or 21, we want them to be ready.

"He's a different type of player [to Raheem Sterling], but certainly both players like to beat people and commit defenders. They are very aggressive with the ball. It's just looking at the next stage of his development so hopefully he can consistently do that."