Rodgers targets home improvement

  • Last Updated: August 25 2012, 13:29 BST

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers knows he has to make Anfield a fortress again if his side are to have any hope of breaking into the top four this season.

Brendan Rodgers: Wants improved home form

Predecessor Kenny Dalglish managed just 22 points from a possible 57, winning six times, at home in the previous campaign and that contributed to an eighth-place finish which ultimately cost him his job.

Coincidentally Rodgers' Swansea team was one of those who came to Merseyside and went away with a point which could easily have been three.

As champions Manchester City arrive on Sunday for Liverpool's first match in front of their own fans, the Reds boss is well aware the players have put all thoughts of their home horror show behind them.

"There can be a number of reasons why that (a poor home record) can be and sometimes it can play on players' minds," he said.

"They certainly had enough opportunities last year where they could have gone on and won games, and through whatever reason it didn't materialise.

"It is a combination of everything. If you continually have bad luck and don't quite get the result your confidence level can be affected.

"We went through a period at Swansea last season where we didn't concede a goal at home until around about November time, which was incredible.

"We built up a such a mindset around the place that it was a difficult place to come to and that is the aim here for Anfield.

"When the opponent comes there is a greater motivation than any other ground because of the history around the club and people want to play there.

"For us you have to fight against that; you have to work harder and give a little bit more.

"We know that if we are going to have any sort of success this year, we've got to make sure we can win as many of our home games as we possibly can.

"Anfield is somewhere we want to make sure is a real fortress and there's no better game to start working towards that than against the champions.

"Manchester City are the benchmark and it's going to be a really difficult game but my players are really focused and looking forward to the game."

The season could not have got off to a poorer start as Liverpool suffered their worst opening day result for 75 years with the 3-0 defeat at West Brom which saw Daniel Agger sent off.

Rodgers rested the key quartet of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson for Thursday's Europa League victory over Hearts, a result which the manager hopes will get his side back on track.

"We were all affected by last week but they have shown up really well and I am really pleased with the attitude," he added.

"We were all disappointed with the result but when that is the way it is.

"Domestically it wasn't the best start for us but we have learned from that and we move forward.

"It was important you go on and win your next game, whichever it is, and it could have been easier for us."

Rodgers expects his players to raise their game for City, which will be followed by visits from Arsenal and Manchester United in the next month.

"In the big games players are always at their optimum level in terms of motivation, it is just those small details and a bit of luck going your way," he said.

"But if you perform well the natural consequence of that is that normally you win games.

"Sometimes you will lose games when you play well, but as long as we concentrate on worrying about playing well and good football with aggression and charisma, that will set us up to win more games than we'll lose.

"The players are technically strong but we're trying to give them a different tactical idea of the game."

Striker Andy Carroll will have a fitness test after missing the Hearts match with a hamstring problem but even if he comes through that successfully he is likely to start on the bench.

Liverpool also confirmed today they had reached an agreement to sign Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin on a season-long loan deal, subject to passing a medical.