Mike Marsh believes Liverpool are better equipped to mount a challenge at the top of the Barclays Premier League table this season.

Brendan Rodgers has made eight new additions to his squad to date during the summer as the Reds prepare to embark on a campaign that includes the welcome return to Champions League football.

In our chat with the first team coach at Melwood, Marsh reflected on a very busy summer and also looked ahead to Monday night's trip to Manchester City...

Mike, how important was it we started the season with a victory?

It's always important if you can get the first three points on the board, so it was nice to come out as winners on Sunday and we're off and running.

It wasn't quite the fluent performance that fans were used to in the second half of last season. Why was that do you think?

It was pretty similar to the performance against Stoke the season before. There are a lot of things you can take into account like first day nerves and new players coming in, but what was important was the result on the day and we managed to get that.

Having missed out by such a fine margin last season at the top of the league, how crucial was it we started with a win on the first day?

We know it's always important  especially to win your home games. We wanted to get the three points, which we did, and that sets us up nicely for the trip to Manchester City on Monday evening.


We have seen quite a few new signings this summer, eight in total, so how are they settling in and how much in your role is settling them into the club and introducing them to the way things work here?

It's not so much as my role and we work as a team here, all the players and the staff. It's a very welcoming group of people. We do as much we can on and off the pitch to help them settle in.

What do you think they've added so far?

We have got more depth in the squad, we've got more choice to pick from and we've got a stronger bench and a stronger XI. Obviously we've lost Luis Suarez, who has gone to Barcelona, but we've made eight signings and that strengthens us.

With Champions League back this season as well is it extra important we've got these new players to add extra depth?

Of course and that's the thinking behind it. You can't go into the Champions League with the squad we had last year because we would have been a bit thin of the ground. We had to make some new additions.

Both ties with Manchester City were very tightly fought last season and won by the odd goal. Will there be a difference in the mentality this time around or will the approach be the same?

The approach will be the same for every game we play and we want to go out there and win it. We know it's going to be a tough game. They are the champions and they pipped us at the post at the end, but we give them a good fight and we are ready to do so again this season.

We beat them at Anfield 3-2 but it was a 2-1 defeat earlier in the campaign despite a very promising performance. Can we take confidence from that last trip to the Etihad?

I think so and the season before we played very well there. On our travels last season I thought we played really well so we are well prepared and well equipped to go to the big stadiums and play the big teams. We are tactically aware and we'll go there and give a good account of ourselves.

They are the champions and have strengthened well during the summer. Are they going to be just as big a challenge in terms of taking them on, on Monday?

Yes, of course they are and they are champions for a reason. It's not just Manchester City - Chelsea have strengthened, Manchester United have so it's going to be tough.

We seemed to really show no fear in the big games last season, those two against Manchester City and the other teams towards the top end of the table. Is that something we can expect to see again this season?

I would hope so. We have got a really young side and we will go and express ourselves and play without any fear. We've got nothing to fear, we've got a really good side ourselves and we'll go into it on the front foot and try and win the game.

I know it's only the second game of the season but given the opposition is it vital that we get a positive result of some description?

I wouldn't say it's vital but it would be important if we could come away with the three points. If we can get a positive result, great, but it's early days in the season. I think if we win, I don't think Manchester City would be ruled out of winning the title and it would be vice versa with us.

If we did win though, would that be a nice early statement to kick off the season?

Of course it would. Against the champions if we could come away with the three points it would make everyone stand up and take notice.