Liverpool opens the new Premier League season on Sunday against Stoke City, and the match is more than just a tough trip to the Britannia Stadium (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN or online via Live Extra).
In the final match of last season, Liverpool was thrashed 6-1 by the Potters, a game that still haunts Reds’ boss Brendan Rodgers.
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Rodgers said last season’s 6-1 loss was his “worst day in football by a long way,” but is excited to be able to get back at Stoke in the first match of the 2015-16 season.
Liverpool has spent more than $100 million this summer in an attempt to get back into the top four and earn a berth in the Champions League, and Rodgers knows that he has some added pressure to succeed after last season’s disappointing finish.
I never take for granted the support I have had here but I also understand the disappointment of last year. I’m sure after a game like Stoke there was huge disappointment, but I have always been the one to take responsibility and, rightly so, the anger goes towards the manager and I accept that.
I need to regain their trust again. It has been an incredible journey since I came in here and it is an absolute privilege to manage this club with the supporters we have behind us, but you have to do well to earn that support and I need to earn that again.”
After Liverpool’s poor start to last season there were calls for Rodgers to be sacked, but after the new year the Reds won eight of ten matches en route to a sixth place finish. One of the biggest concerns for Liverpool supporters though would be that the club only sat in the top four for one week all year, and that was after the first match of the season.
Rodgers can make everyone forgot about last season’s drubbing against Stoke with a win on Sunday, but that’s easier said than done. The Potters have improved with some good summer signings, and taking points away from the Britannia is always a tall order.