Brendan Rodgers says he is relishing the opportunity to lead Liverpool into their first Champions League game in five years, when the Reds welcome Bulgarian side Ludogorets to Anfield tomorrow evening, reports Sky Sports.
The Reds last appearance in Europe’s elite competition came back in 2009, and Rodgers understands how important the game is to the five-time winners and it’s supporters.
And Rodgers is backing his side to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Aston Villa with a positive result on Tuesday.
He said: “This is a group that has shown over the time that I’ve been here that we have to get over disappointment and move to the next game.
“We dominated the game against Villa but didn’t get the result we wanted but we have to move on. Our focus now goes straight to Tuesday night.
“It will be a wonderful occasion for us to be back in Champions League football and hopefully getting over the weekend result by getting a win in the first group game.
“I am very excited. Five years is a long time. We deserve the right to be in it. Last year, we had a great season. Success is about qualifying from the group. We will take it one game at a time. But the overall first objective is to perform well and get out of the group and qualify.”
Liverpool are heavily tipped to qualify from a group that includes FC Basel and Champions League holders Real Madrid, but Rodgers says the club are taking nothing for granted, insisting every match will be tough.
He said: “Like all games at this level, it will be a tough game. They are the top team in Bulgaria and we have had them watched and have done a lot of research on them. They play 4-2-3-1 and the full-backs look to get forward. They want to attack.
“They come here with confidence and will want to perform like they have been doing in Bulgaria. We now have to be really aggressive with our pressing and passing. We know they will be a tough opponent.
“It is only the last couple of days that it has brought home how long it has been away. This was my main priority to get the club at this level.
“This is one of the football greats around the world and this is the elite competition. This game can’t come quick enough for us. I have had supporters in my office, telling me about it. We do this for our supporters.
“The key is to build towards making this a sustainable club. The Champions League is the elite level.”