Europa League not Liverpool’s priority, admits Rodgers

New Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted the Premier League will be the Reds’ top priority this season, rather than their campaign in the Europa League, the Guardian has reported.

The former Swansea manager has flown out with his squad to Belarus ahead of their Europa League qualifying match against FC Gomel on Thursday evening. However the Northern Irishman has suggested that while his squad want to do well in the competition, their focus will be on improving on the eighth place league finish under former manager Kenny Dalglish last season.

Liverpool won the Carling Cup under Dalglish but disastrous league form saw them finish well off the pace in the Premier League, qualifying for Europe through their Carling Cup win over Cardiff. It was was that league form that saw Dalglish sacked as manager.

Speaking to the club’s website, Rodgers said: “I don’t want to disrespect the Europa League but there’s no doubt the league is our priority and we want to finish as high as we possibly can.

The Europa League is a competition we’d like to do well in. Obviously to do well in it you’ve got to play a lot of games and hopefully that will be the case. When you play for Liverpool every tournament and every game is a priority.

Liverpool are by no means taking their opponents lightly, despite Gomel finishing third in Belarus’ top league and failing to get past the first round of any major European competition. Rodgers said “We have done our homework on them. They have done well to qualify for this stage, the pitch looks nice and they play a 4-2-3-1 system.

Speculation has mounted over Rodgers’ squad selection for the Europa League, with Andy Carroll failing to travel due to a minor ankle injury as reports suggest he could soon be on his way out of Anfield.

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