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Liverpool Remain Confident Ahead of Chelsea Clash

Thursday's loss to City may have stung, but Brendan Rodgers insists his is a still confident side that will attempt to hand Chelsea their first loss of the season at Stamford Bridge.

Michael Regan

Despite a loss to Manchester City that put an end to Liverpool's four-game winning streak and a quick turnaround before they play Chelsea on the weekend, Brendan Rodgers is looking for his side to continue their strong play of recent weeks and push for a result at Stamford Bridge against the only side other than City that hasn't lost a game at home.

"The confidence that we've been playing with and the belief in the team is very strong," said the manager. "We played against an opponent that a few weeks ago went to Bayern Munich and won. We went toe-to-toe with one of the best squads in Europe. So we'll take great confidence from it, but of course, when we miss the chances we did and play as well as we did, it's disappointing we didn't get a result.

"I think we've shown that we are improving. When you got to the Etihad, where it's been remarkably difficult for teams to go this year, and you perform like we did, then it means that you're going to be able to challenge. Ultimately we want to set up camp in the top four and then we'll try and retain that position over the next couple of years. But at this moment in time, we're just focusing on our next game."

Though Steven Gerrard is ahead of schedule to return from his hamstring strain and could return to full training next week, he won't in contention to make the squad on Sunday, while Daniel Sturridge and Jon Flanagan won't be expected back for some time. Rodgers will also have to take into account Victor Moses' absence, with the on-loan Chelsea player ineligible against his parent club.

"None of them will be available for the weekend," confirmed the manager when asked to address the injury and fitness situation given the only two day break between playing City on Thursday and Chelsea on Sunday. "Steven is progressing very well, so he will step up his work next week [but] we won't have Victor Moses in the squad, of course, because he's a Chelsea player, [but other than him] it will be the same squad."

Though Moses hasn't seen much action of late for Liverpool, fixture congestion might have tempted Rodgers to start the winger on Sunday were he not barred from participating. If the manager is worried about the amount of football Raheem Sterling in particular has played of late, it could mean a return to three at the back, with Sterling starting on the bench and Philippe Coutinho moved inside.

Meanwhile, if bib theory is to be believed, Sunday could see Iago Aspas leading the attack while Kolo Toure moves into the backline and Brad Smith is handed his debut. Which probably means this is one of those times Rodgers sees value in keeping his starting eleven secret up until an hour before kickoff. Given Rodgers' history with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, this isn't all that surprising.

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