Brendan Rodgers says it is time for him to land his first trophy as Liverpool boss, as the Reds prepare to take on Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi final first leg at Anfield.
Rodgers came desperately close to bringing home the Premier League trophy last term, but a home defeat to Chelsea effectively ended the Reds dream with two matches remaining.
Liverpool will be looking for revenge this evening, and Rodgers is hoping his side can take another step towards a major final at Wembley and a crack at his first piece of silverware since arriving at the club two and a half years ago.
The Liverpool boss also pointed to Jose Mourinho’s success in this competition in 2005, claiming the first trophy often opens the gates to many more.
“We have worked really hard in the majority of the 2½ years since I have been here but we are here to win,” Rodgers said. “We are a club that is synonymous with winning trophies and we want to get that back again. Hopefully we can do that this season. It is that taste of success that hopefully pushes players on.
“I joined Chelsea in 2004 and at that point they wanted to win titles and trophies and they showed once you win the first you go on. The first was most important.
“I know Jose well and I know they will be very keen to put a trophy in the cabinet, especially having had nothing last year. It’s the first trophy you can win. Maybe if it was another team or club it might be different but knowing him and some of the other players and the mentality there, they will want to win this trophy.”
Rodgers friendship with the Chelsea boss is another sub-plot in what has become an intense fixture down the years, although the Northern Irishman admits the friendship has been compromised in recent years.
“There is probably not as much contact but the respect has not left,” he said. “The opportunity to work with him in that period of three and a bit years was invaluable to me and hopefully in some ways I helped him as well because we had a lot of communication. But of course when you’re fighting for the same competition, the friendship, well, I think it was questioned when I first came in here about how it would work.
“I have a huge respect for him; he is a wonderful man and coach but in time you are so engrossed in your own work, you don’t communicate as much, you don’t have the conversations you had before and ultimately you could be a rival. But certainly the respect hasn’t dropped or been lost.”
Rodgers also played down his poor head-to-head record against Mourinho – Chelsea have won all three meetings since Mourinho’s return to English football.
“I’ve never really seen it as a direct match up against the other manager because there are so many other things that can dictate that,” Rodgers said. “If you’re a manager that is working with a big group of players, experienced, winners, you’re going to have a great chance to win trophies.
“As a manager the big part of it is the players you have. Of course you make an impact with players and you work with them, develop them and make them better but if you’re a manager that comes into a group of super experienced players or into a dressing room that has won consistently and you have top players, you’re going to have a better chance to win trophies. It’s not rocket science. For me it is just about winning the game, regardless of the manager.
“We don’t like to lose and it doesn’t matter who against but I think in particular against Chelsea we haven’t played as well as we would have liked. The game [at Anfield] last season was disappointing of course for obvious reasons. That was the moment we probably lost the league.
“Early on in this season, not just the Chelsea game, there were plenty of other games we didn’t do well in and obviously lost the game. At this moment in time it is a different feeling, a different aggression, a different mood that is in the squad. Hopefully we can go into these two games and be positive.”