Brendan Rodgers was a phone-in guest on talkSPORT this morning, where he spoke on a range of topics – and we've transcribed the best bits for you to enjoy below…
Brendan, first of all, squad-wise, how are you looking?
Over the Christmas period we were unfortunate to have a number of injuries that brought the squad down in number. We only had about 15 players at one point, but thankfully over this last week or so, we're starting to get one or two back and they are very important players for us. Steven Gerrard came back into the fold against Oldham Athletic, which was great and obviously we've got Daniel Sturridge back training now, which is brilliant for us.
It's some league at the moment. Manchester City are scoring goals for fun. They have one hell of a squad, Brendan...
They've got an outstanding squad - one of the top squads in European football. The way they have pieced it together over a number of years is very good. They can mix and match, be really strong for each competition and it's a great credit to them how they've done that over the last number of years.
What's it like to manage a player like Luis Suarez? What's he like in training with his enthusiasm for the game?
I think the experience of working with Luis is something that is going to stay with me for a lifetime. To work with someone with that determination and desire and will to win - he's a real old-school striker. He's never, ever injured. He's never in the treatment room and he loves to train. He comes in every day to work. After a game, you sometimes do a first-day recovery, which is really low intensity. Then you'll do, for example, a second-day recovery, which is a more active recovery. But you're still recovering from the game. Luis just wants to train on that day. He just needs to be at it all the time.
Sometimes, do you have to hold him back?
Absolutely. When I first came in, I rested him in one or two of the cup games and I could see he didn't like it. I could see he wasn't overly keen on that. We spoke on it. But he's just a guy that wants to play all the time. Not for selfish reasons; he wants to help the team. What's been brilliant about these last four or five months has been his maturity as a man. It's a sheer pleasure to work with him; he's a real good man. His maturity on the field is there for everyone to see and his performances speak for themselves.
Where are you at the moment in your plan for Liverpool's progress? Are you happy with where you are in the table at this moment in time?
You're always striving to be better. In terms of the job I was asked to do when I first came in, I think we're well on track. Over three years we were given the objective to see if we could push to get back into the Champions League and we knew it was going to be difficult in the first year. But last year, as a calendar year, we made great strides. For us this year it was about being in the conversation. We were never talked about. When you listened to anyone talk, Liverpool were not even mentioned. So for us it was about defining how we wanted to play and how we were wanting to work, knowing that the longer we were here, the more success that would hopefully give us. We've started to work how I want us to work. We're on track, but when you're fourth, you always want to be third, or second and ultimately first.
Stoke away coming up next and then two home games against Aston Villa and Everton. The latter will have that added spice with the Blues really doing well alongside Liverpool...
We've got all the so-called 'top teams' to play now at Anfield, after a really difficult draw in the first part of the season, where we played them all away. Apart from Manchester United, we'll play them all at home. Everton over the last few years have been very strong. When I was at Swansea, they were still one of the best footballing teams that we played. David Moyes deserves a huge amount of credit for the work that he did there because they were fluent in their structure and their movement was good. Roberto Martinez has come in and done an outstanding job. He's made that extra pass and made them play with a bit more patience and we're starting to see his principles. They've been excellent and that bodes well for this part of the world.
In terms of the title race, does it surprise you that no-one seems to talk about Arsenal being champions this year?
Well, I've certainly heard it talked about. I think there's just so many teams in the mix. There's no way you can disregard them. They have top talents there, they have been reasonably consistent and they've still got a number of players to come back in from injury. So they've got a strong squad. I just think that when you move into this second part of this season, the teams who have that sort of squad are going to be really strong. We're fighting to be up there and we'll continue to do that.