Liverpool need just seven points from three Premier League games to win their first domestic title in 24 years. Brendan Rodgers has masterminded 11 straight wins in the division and will be looking to rack up a crucial victory when second-placed Chelsea visit Anfield on Sunday.
The Northern Irish manager spoke ahead of a momentous Merseyside clash, beginning with vital team news regarding Daniel Sturridge, per Tony Barrett of the Times:
Rodgers says Liverpool will know in the next 24 hours whether or not Daniel Sturridge will be fit for Chelsea.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) April 25, 2014
As ever when facing a team led by Jose Mourinho, Rodgers faces plenty of mind games. Mourinho suggested he will field a weakened side at Anfield in order to save his players for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid, per BBC Sport.
Having worked under the Portuguese boss during his time at Chelsea, Rodgers isn't going to let his former mentor get the better of him with pre-match claims, reported by Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo:
Rodgers on Mourinho: "Jose's a winner, he won't give up. He knows me well enough to know it (mind games) wouldn't bother me one iota"— Neil Jones (@neiljonesecho) April 25, 2014
Rodgers also knows that, despite potentially playing a lesser side, Chelsea possess quality throughout their squad. Even in a worst-case scenario, he expects the Blues' rich pool of talent to compete with his Liverpool stars, reported by Squawka:
Rodgers: "To say Chelsea will be weak is disrespectful. Whatever team they put out will cost more than our team."— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 25, 2014
Brendan Rodgers: "Chelsea are an outstanding team with lots of good players and a world class manager."— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 25, 2014
Limited expectations at the beginning of the season ensure Liverpool head into the final trio of games under little pressure. Although Rodgers' team are now expected to capture the title, the manager suggested his upcoming opponents should be feeling the heat more intensely, per Barrett:
Rodgers says he's really enjoying being top of the league: "I haven't slept better."— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) April 25, 2014
Rodgers: "There's no pressure. Pressure is to be at Man City or Chelsea and spend all that money and expect to win the league."— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) April 25, 2014
Rodgers, who received criticism after a stuttering 2012-13 debut campaign with the Reds, also discussed his feelings toward David Moyes, who was sacked from his Manchester United managerial post on Tuesday, noted by Barrett:
Brendan Rodgers says he's "saddened" by David Moyes' departure, describing him as "an honest, good man" & "an outstanding manager."— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) April 25, 2014
As has remained a running theme throughout Rodgers' press conferences this season, his assured confidence is indicative of Liverpool's current run of form.
The former Swansea boss understands the more his side improve, the greater amount of pressure both he and his squad will face. At this point, his fearlessness acts as a protective barrier toward those who suggest Liverpool may stumble at the final hurdle.
Rodgers' attitude remains impressive. It's not often Mourinho faces an opponent who genuinely seems unblemished by his mind games, suggesting Chelsea will need to be at their absolute best to leave Anfield with any chance of snatching the Premier League crown.