Rodgers: Reds policy bearing fruit
5:07pm Friday 11th April 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Contrasting methods have made Liverpool and Manchester City title contenders but Reds boss Brendan Rodgers resolutely believes his preferred way of doing things is making the club better for the long term.
Sunday's opponents spent hundreds of millions on transfers and salaries to bring in top-class talent which allowed City to win the Premier League in 2012 and become regular contenders.
Liverpool, under Rodgers, have paid out far less and opted instead for a policy of development which has seen them unexpectedly leap from eighth in May 2012 to top of the table in April 2014.
While he does not decry their rivals' approach, which has been bankrolled by billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour, Rodgers is confident the Liverpool way will succeed just as well.
"Both clubs work on different models, we are on different roads in terms of how we want to achieve success," he said.
"We are a club who have an identity and a philosophy of how we want to work and that is built through the club and we will hopefully cultivate and grow it over the years to come.
"However this season finishes it will be a great victory for the model we have employed here of player development.
"I won't disrespect what (City) have done because they had a lot of new money come into the club in order to gain success.
"They have invested that money wisely in a lot of top players and that has won them the league, the FA Cup and the league cup, so I am sure their supporters won't be complaining.
"Liverpool as a club is very much a development club - development for players and for people and it is a model we are happy with and will give us sustainable success over a long period.
"We are looking to build and create something here which gives the young players at the club hope they can pull on the great shirt of Liverpool.
"They have seen local boys come through here, a lot of young players getting an opportunity, and they have also seen a model of football which is exciting.
"We are a club that is looking to the future and to the youth of our club as well as having a defined philosophy of football.
"Hopefully that will provide the vision for years to come."
Sunday's encounter at Anfield is being billed as a title decider but with four games to follow after that - six in City's case - Rodgers has tried to play down the importance of one result.
City have won just once in 16 Premier League visits to the ground and victory would put Liverpool seven points ahead of their opponents and leave Chelsea - who also have to travel to Merseyside later this month - as their main rivals.
"It is a significant game, there is no doubt about that," said the Reds boss.
"It is two teams who have done extremely well this season in their own different ways but there is still a lot of work to do.
"Our focus is on the three points because at the end of the day that is all that comes out of the game - even after this game there are still 12 points to play for.
"But it is what we work for as coaches and managers. I am sleeping very well but I've not dreamt of lifting the title.
"Our objective remains to qualify for the Champions League, only then can we think of other things. Once we've cleared that hurdle we can look at other objectives."
Fans have mobilised themselves again in preparation and will line Anfield Road in their numbers armed with flags and banners to welcome the team coach before kick-off and Rodgers issued what sounded like a rallying cry to those troops.
"We will unleash the supporters this weekend yet again on the opponent," he said.
"Anfield is a special place to play football and a difficult place for teams to come and play.
"I sense a real nostalgia about the place, the feel of the old Liverpool, and we will always respect that and it is important it drives us forward in the future."
Part of that history will be remembered on Sunday when the club begin a week of remembrance around the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 fans died.
"It gives us great commitment and motivation but we will get chance to commemorate Hillsborough next week (at the annual memorial service)," added Rodgers.
"We carry it every day of our lives here: manager, players, supporters.
"The victims and the families are with us every day and that is why we work hard to ensure they can have some comfort from seeing their club move forward.
"This weekend will be huge for that."