Brendan Rodgers lauds 'camaraderie'
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hailed his side's team spirit after they opened the 2013-14 Premier League season with a 1-0 win over Stoke City.
The Reds paid the price for inconsistency last campaign as they finished seventh, despite having ambitions to end up higher in the table.
But, after a summer of arrivals that included Iago Aspas, Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure and Luis Alberto, there is renewed optimism on Anfield.
Rodgers told the club's official website: "I remember last year and people saying to me 'should we be losing 3-0 to West Brom?' They were absolutely right.
"But we've got better and better as we've gone on. It's a big job here.
"But I just got the feeling in the dressing room beforehand, when the players were getting together, some of our staff were saying that it just feels different this year.
"There's a camaraderie and a togetherness there. Long may it continue.
"We haven't won the World Cup, it's a game of football. But the lads are happy, they've done their job. They knew this was a big three points."
Rodgers also reserved praise for Daniel Sturridge, who recovered from an ankle injury in time for the start of the season and score their winner versus Stoke.
He said: "I think the biggest credit you can give him is that in all the time he was off, he never put on any weight whatsoever.
"His body fat remained the same as when he was playing, which shows you how hard he was working.
"And I have to give credit to the medical team, because they've got to make sacrifices as well. Daniel was keen to get himself right, so he was ready to fire at the beginning of the season.
"For a bit of time it was touch and go, but once we saw his progress and how he was working, he was back probably three weeks earlier than what we anticipated, purely because of his attitude.
"I always believe he's got a goal in him. That's why we took him here. As long as he's on the field, he can end up being one of the top goalscorers in this league."