Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool's successes of last season have already been forgotten as they prepare to kick off their new campaign and mount a Barclays Premier League challenge.

Playing the quick, stylish football that the Northern Irishman has preached since taking the reins in June 2012, the Reds came remarkably close to scooping the championship back in May.

Today, though, the boss had moved on - his focus was singly on the visit of Southampton to Anfield this Sunday and the chance to start the latest quest with three important points.

Rodgers commented: "We've got great hope going into this season. What happened last year counts for nothing, that's all gone now. The one thing that will carry on from that is the belief.

"We're really focused on the games - we're entering into a long, hard season ahead but a really exciting season because of our talents and the development of this group of players.

"Our aim is to be competitive. Like the top teams, we want to win a trophy. That would be an aim. In the league, it's about sustaining Champions League football.

"For that you want to arrive in fourth. Once you have consolidated that, you can look beyond that. That's certainly our aim this season."

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Asked specifically about the expected hard-fought battle at the summit of the division, the manager continued: "It will be the same as last year - it was very competitive.

"There are maybe seven teams challenging for those positions, but that's the beauty of this league. It's really competitive, it's a fantastic league to operate in as a manager and a player.

"We'll be ready for the challenge, that's why we've tried to improve the squad again. We're looking to make this a sustainable team for the next five to 10 years.

"We've brought in a lot of young talent, so we're trying to look after the now of the team but also the future of the team and the club. They are really exciting players that we have brought in."

One year ago, Liverpool enjoyed the most dramatic and morale-boosting beginning to a season by beating Stoke City after a last-minute penalty save by Simon Mignolet.

Naturally, Rodgers would rather not rely on acrobatics from his goalkeeper this weekend, though he is fully aware of the benefits of a victory to open proceedings in 2014-15.

He added: "It's important to start very well. We had a really difficult game against Stoke last season.

"From that, we got our spirit; we conceded a penalty late on and Simon made a great save. We hope he doesn't have to do that again. But it was important to make a good start.

"We've obviously got two tough away games on the back of our home game. If you can start well, it gives you confidence and hopefully sets you up for the remainder of the season."