Liverpool's motivation to earn three points this weekend would have been at its maximum even if Brendan Rodgers' side weren't preparing for what the manager considers 'the greatest derby' in English football.

The international break has forced the Reds to wait a fortnight for an opportunity to make amends for the disappointment of a 3-0 home defeat against West Ham United last time out.

Their wait ends with an enormous fixture – Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Millions will tune in from around the world on Saturday evening to witness the latest edition of a rivalry that captures the imagination of football fans across the globe.

But Rodgers admits that in some ways it wouldn’t matter who is side were facing upon their return, given the desire to put things right two weeks on.

“It’s winning the next game, irrespective of where it is,” the manager told reporters at his pre-match press conference inside Melwood.

“Of course it’s a big game, but once you lose a game and you’ve had two weeks to sit on it, winning the next game is important – no matter where that’s at.

“For us it’s about ensuring that our performance level is at the level we would want it to be and ensuring that we set our own standards.

“We fell below that in the result against West Ham, so we’re looking to recreate that standard again and we look forward to it.

“The first three games showed that we have made improvements. Without wanting to look back, the West Ham game was a big disappointment.

“But we have had two tough games away from home, both at Stoke and Arsenal, and performed well in terms of our organisation.

“You know when you go away from home, whoever you’re playing against, you need to have that. Of course, we want to be really creative and dangerous in our attack. That’ll be something that’s key to the game also.”

In claiming seven points from their opening four matches, Liverpool have registered just two goals and drew a blank in their past two games.

But the boss is confident that a better strike ratio will develop in tandem with the team improving as the campaign progresses.

He said: “It will increase and improve as the team improves over the course of the season. We’ve created chances to have scored more goals than we have.

“That’s always the primary objective you’re looking at. We obviously didn’t create anywhere near as much in the West Ham game, where we disappointed.

“But I know with the players that we have that they’ll get better and improve as the season goes on.”

With the beginning of the Europa League and the Reds’ first game in the Capital One Cup on the horizon, Rodgers’ charges are readying for a regular run of three matches per week.

Asked if the hectic schedule will mean more squad rotation, the Northern Irishman agreed that those who may not have had chances so far should clock up playing time.

“I said to the players before the first game of the season that through until the international break, if the team was winning there might not be so many changes in the squad,” added the boss.

“The players respected and understood that. But I said that after the international break, the games come thick and fast and that’s when we’ll be able to utilise the squad.

“This is a period of games between now and Christmas which is great, because we are in competitions that we want to do well in. When the players are asked to play, they’ll be ready.”

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