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Jan 5, 2013

Rodgers: Treat Mansfield like Man Utd

Brendan Rodgers has told his Liverpool players to prepare for their FA Cup third-round trip to Mansfield as if they were playing Manchester United.

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Rodgers believes his side will need the levels of commitment and discipline they would expect to show against the Premier League leaders in order to ensure they do not slip up against their non-league opponents on Sunday.

Mansfield, sitting ninth in the Blue Square Bet Premier League, are dreaming of becoming the first non-league side to knock English top-flight opposition out of the FA Cup since Sutton United beat Coventry in the third round in 1989.

But Rodgers believes that Liverpool's superior quality can see them through, as long as they get the basics right.

Ahead of the third-round clash, which will be screened live on ESPN, the Liverpool manager said: "Our preparation's been exactly the same as it would be if we were playing Manchester United. Our focus is to go there and win, and that's the aim.

"It's a great draw for Mansfield. It's part of the real romance of the tournament. It's a tricky tie, and that's why the cameras are there, because they're hoping for an upset. For us, it's about being professional and doing our job. If we do that, we'll be fine."

Rodgers insists his side will be ready for a barrage of long throws into their penalty area from Mansfield centre-back Exodus Geohaghon.

The defender could also pose a threat in front of goal, having scored the opener on New Year's Day in a 3-0 league victory at Alfreton.

"They're a team who will be strong and organised, and will rely on set pieces," Rodgers said. "Their centre-half's got an enormous throw into the box, and they're coming off the back of a 3-0 victory away from home.

"They're tough games. If you're a Mansfield player, this is something you'll never forget. And everyone knows these types of games can be tricky. But you do your job right, you focus and you compete, and then your quality should come through.

"It's never easy, because you've got players giving their life to a game, but for us, the task is to get the job done."

The match will round off an eventful few days for Mansfield manager Paul Cox, who married his fiance Natasha Bertin on Friday and will celebrate his 41st birthday on the day of the match.

Rodgers joked: "I hope he didn't forget the rings! What a weekend, eh?"

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