The Blues were victorious at Anfield earlier in the season, but the former Swansea boss believes his side are in a better place now as they chase a place in the League Cup final
Brendan Rodgers has warned Chelsea that they will face a different Liverpool in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final first leg than the one they beat earlier in the season.
The Reds welcome Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders to Anfield for the second time this season, with Chelsea having emerged 2-1 winners in the top flight clash in November.
That fixture was part of a run of four straight defeats for a Liverpool side who struggled in the early stages of the season after going so close to winning the title last term.
Manager Rodgers has seen his side improve vastly recently, though, and they head into Tuesday’s match unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions.
While acknowledging the strength of Chelsea’s squad, Rodgers is confident of progressing over the two-legged tie and insists his target for this season remains winning a trophy and qualifying for the Champions League.
“We know if you want to win the competition you have to beat the best teams,” Rodgers told reporters. “We are developing and improving as season goes on and we are full of confidence.
“When we last played them, we weren’t in a good moment but we’re developing, improving and confidence is very high.
“Chelsea are in a really strong position. They have a very experienced squad of players who are playing well. They are five points clear [in the Premier League] but there is still a long way to go.
“Our objective is still to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League. A trophy would help build for the future. Chelsea have shown that once you win a trophy you can go on and sustain it. But the first trophy is always the hardest.”
Rodgers, a former youth and reserve team manager at Chelsea, insists that all will not be lost even if Liverpool fail to win the first leg on home turf.
“We have spoken about the fact it is a different type of game,” he added. “You don’t need to open up too much. We want to win, but the tie won’t be won or lost in the first game.
“We know we’ll have to deal with pressure at moments in the game but the most important thing is to make sure we are in a good position in the second leg.
“These are the games that excite you and it is an opportunity to win a trophy. If we do that it is an opportunity to bring these players on.”