Liverpool consistency is the key for Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers has stressed Liverpool are feeling "very confident" heading into Sunday's Premier League home clash with champions Manchester United.
Last season – Rodgers' first in charge of the Merseysiders – their encounters in the league with United saw them lose both at home in September and away in January, 2-1 on each occasion.
Rodgers has emphasised his feeling that his team were unfortunate to be defeated in the first game and also pointed to the similarities in the top-flight records of the two clubs since they last met as reason for encouragement ahead of the Anfield encounter.
Asked about the meaning of the fixture, Rodgers – whose side have won all three of their matches so far this season, overcoming Stoke and Aston Villa in the league and Notts County in the Capital One Cup – said: "There's an intense rivalry there. It's not just the football clubs, it's the cities that you're representing.
"It's a game that, last year, we were unfortunate not to get something from. We lost the game, but we're very confident going into this game.
"It's a game which should be very close. We're at home and we'll look to take the initiative."
He added: "If you look at our numbers since we last played Manchester United in January, that's the improvement where we've really kicked on. The big thing for us was consistency.
"From when we played them in January, we've played 18 Premier League games each – they have won 11 and we have won 10, we have drawn six games and they have drawn five, and we have both lost two games.
"So over the course of that period from January they have made two points more than us and obviously they became champions.
"For us, it's a case of continuing with that consistency. If we can do that, I think we can compete with anyone.
"We know it's a really difficult challenge, but we've shown enough in the last number of months, the second half of last season and the beginning of this season, that we can sustain a challenge. That's something we're very determined to do."
United have so far this term beaten Wigan in the Community Shield and Swansea in the league before drawing with Chelsea.
Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel is set to make his return to action in Sunday's contest after recovering from a knee problem.