By FOX SPORTS staff
Finishing in seventh place last season has resulted in Liverpool missing out on European competition in this campaign, but Rodgers and his players alike have spoken openly of the club's desire to achieve a top four finish in the Premier League and return to the Champions League.
Rodgers told BBC Football Focus that he hoped the team, boosted by the form of Daniel Sturridge and Phillippe Coutinho, would lay down a marker of sorts this season.
"Daniel Sturridge - that was a great piece of business by the club because, for me, he'll end up being one of the top European strikers over the next few years as long as he keeps his focus and keeps that work ethic. The likes of young Coutinho, they just need to play in a certain team and a certain style to show their qualities otherwise people might say he's too small. But he's got wonderful vision and touch," he described.
"This year is a big year for us. I signed here for three years and the objective was, certainly in the third year, to be somewhere near challenging for the Champions League."
Beating league winners Manchester United on Sunday would go a long way to proving the Reds' credentials and former Liverpool player Jan Molby has urged Martin Skrtel to use the game to force himself back into Rodgers' plans.
"It's been a difficult time for Martin Skrtel but Liverpool desperately need him to deliver when they face Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday," he wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
"Losing Toure is a big blow as after Daniel Sturridge he has done as well as any other outfield player so far. Toure has improved Liverpool's back four with his qualities. In his absence we have to hope Skrtel is able to handle the threat of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney - United's key men."
Molby was also confident that former Everton boss David Moyes would continue to find Anfield a miserable hunting ground with his new team.
"United also have an excellent 'keeper and two good centre-backs, but the rest of them are mediocre," he stated.
"I think it's a good time to face United. New boss David Moyes has never won at Anfield and he has a lot of demons to overcome at the big grounds this season. I can't see Moyes breaking his duck on Sunday. Liverpool have the tools to cause them problems with their movement and pace. They will move the ball a lot quicker than Chelsea did and in Daniel Sturridge they have a striker in great form."